The City Of Music
Given Bratislava’s interesting geographical location, cultural ties with other cities in the area was always very important. In this city worked important musicians such as Haydn (who was born only a couple of kilometers from Bratislava), Beethoven, Mozart, Liszt, and Bartok, all of which had important relations with the musician of the city, among which we find Hummel.
This important musical tradition continues to the present. Bratislava plays host to one of central europe’s most important festivals, Bratislava’s International Festival of Music, which takes place every year in October. Among other musical styles we find Jazz, Bratislava being again host to an important international festival.
Bratislava is home to various orchestras such as the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, the Slovak Philarmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Slovak National Radio, the Orchestra of the Opera, and other formations such as Capella Istropolitana and the Slovak Camera Orchestra. The city is also home to the Slovak National Opera. There is also an important Academy of Arts where famous artists such as Lucia Pop, Magdalena Kozena, Peter Dovorsky and Edita Gruberova studied.
A great number of composers contibuted part of their genius to the city of Bratislava. Among them we find.
Ján Nepomuk Hummel (1778 – 1837)
Jan Hummel was born in Bratislava and is a famous piano virtuoso of the transition period from classicism to musical romanticism. Hummel studied with W.A. Mozart in Vienna and as a prodigy child of only four years made several tours in Germany, Holland and England (where he studied with Muzio Clementi, one of the great virtuosi of piano at the time). Upon his return to Vienna in 1793, he studied with J. Haydn and with Antonio Salieri. Between 1804 and 1811 he was chapel master for the Esterházy family, a post formally occupied by Haydn. Later he was chapel master at Weimar. Today Hummel’s birth house in the center of Bratislava is a museum dedicated to him.
Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809)
Haydn worked in the city as chapel master for count Eszterhzy. We know that he debuted several of his pieces in the Grassalkovich and Eszerhazy palaces (which remain to this day). It is also known that in 1767 he performed for the first time his opera “La Canterina”.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)
Mozart performed his first public concert at the age of six in Bratislava in the palace of count Palffy. (Today it is the Austrian Embassy). In 1785, for the first time in the Hungarian Empire, was performed his opera “The kidnapping of Serallo”.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
Beethoven Visited Bratislava in many ocassions. He played in the Keglevich palace located in the central Panska street, but undoubtedly his greatest contribution to the city was his debut, in 1835, of his Solemnis Mass in Bratislava’s cathedral, undoubtedly his most representative religious creation for symphony and choir.
Ferenc Liszt (1811 – 1886)
This Hungarian composer, the greatest piano virtuoso of the XIX century had a very close relation with Bratislava. He played here for the first time at the tender age of nine. Throughout all his life he performed here a great number of concerts as pianist and conductor. Some of his work, such as the Coronation masses and Ostrihom, or his oratory to Saint Isabel, were performed by Liszt on several occasions in Bratislava.
Anton Grigorievich Rubenstein (1829 – 1894)
Rubenstein lived in Bratislava for some time around the year 1847 when he was invited by count Eszterhazy. In this city he composed some of his most famous work.
Béla Bartók (1881 – 1945)
Bartók followed some his first musical studies in Bratislava. In his times he was a major expert in Slovka folklore. He wrote many pieces with text written in slovak. He had close ties with the most important musicians and composers that lived in Bratislava.