Gábor Hontvári


A review of the ’Excellence Graduate Concert’ held on 15th November, 2017, written by Dietmar Ebert, published in Volkhaus Jena.

A prolific collaboration between the Franz Liszt University of Music in Weimar and the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra

It is now a long-standing tradition that graduating students from the Franz Liszt University of Music in Weimar perform a concert with the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra under the critical eyes of their professors and the audience. The latest concert featured Johannes Braun and Gábor Hontvári student conductors, as well as the Korean baritone Hankyul Lee. 

A moving presentation of Tchaikovsky’s ’Pathétique’

Gábor Hontvári set the benchmark very high when he chose to conduct Peter Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor, a piece that ranks high amongst the most difficult pieces for conductors. He solved the task by mobilising immense energies and a youthful spirit. The opening movement ’Adagio – Allegro non troppo’ was already full of force and energy. He delivered the beginning in the most lyrical way before he set an imposing tone for the drama of the movement. His presentation of the second movement ’Allegro con grazia’ was characterised by a dancer’s grace and ease. Gábor Hontvári opted for a very tense rhythm for the third movement ’Allegro molto vivace’. He and the orchestra found a greater inner tranquillity in the final part, whose melody after a dramatic struggle faded away as if life itself had left the music. The audience rewarded Gábor Hontvári and the orchestra for their exceptional performance with a warm and long round of applause, as the young Hungarian conductor was able to put on Peter Tchaikovski’s ’Pathétique’ in the most engaging and energetic way. Whether for this outstanding musical accomplishment such a high level of sport-like exertion of power as he displayed in the first and third movements was necessary remains a question. In any case, the passionate way in which he immersed himself in Tchaikovski’s magnum opus was more than likeable. The sound and harmony which he created with the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra speaks for his talent and his conducting abilities.

The overall concert has once again shown that the Franz Liszt University of Music in Weimar is producing some of the most talented young singers and conductors, bringing them to a high level of musical maturity, and what a pleasure it is to be able to listen to them.