Visiting artist Éva Polgár’s recital program at 3 p.m. March 8 in Kimball Recital Hall features music from her homeland, Hungary, as well as music by Claude Debussy, who has influenced Zoltán Kodály’s compositional language. The event is free and open to the public.
The program opens with Legend No. 2 by Liszt that sheds light on the composer’s spiritual life. The patriotic nature of Revive Szégedin! and the evocative quality of Hungarian Rhapsody No. 11 provide a transition into the lively character pieces of Bartók. Whereas L’isle joyeuse and Méditation draw similarities between Debussy and Kodály’s sound esthetics, Dances of Marosszék showcases a Kodály’s virtuosity rooted in Hungarian folk music.
Polgár’s artistry is characterized by clarity, conviction and virtuosity. Her dedication to her native Hungarian culture resulted in researching Béla Bartók’s piano arrangements of his original orchestral compositions and specializing in Franz Liszt’s music. Her Liszt interpretation was praised by Liszt scholar Alan Walker as “A stunning performance! A real artist!” and she was featured at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, D.C., the Hungarian Culture Centre in London, and the Liszt Ferenc Museum and Research Center in Budapest.
Polgár’s concerto performances include concerts with conductors Tamás Vásáry at the Budapest Danube Palace and Horst Förster at the Leipzig Gewandhaus. In the realm of cross-disciplinary endeavors, she collaborates extensively with visual artist Sándor Vály. Their experimental music albums released under Ektro Records have been broadcast by the Finnish Radio.
Polgár has won top prizes in competitions including the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition. She is a co-director of the competition, which empowers her to foster young musicians at their early stage of professional career. A committed educator and adjudicator, she has appeared at masterclasses, festivals, and competitions such as LAILC, the Bogotá International Piano Festival in Columbia, Tulsa University Summer Piano Academy in Oklahoma, Florida International University in Miami, Florida, Montclair State University in New Jersey and many more.
A graduate of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music and Sibelius Academy, Polgár has earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance at the University of North Texas. Before joining the piano faculty at Azusa Pacific University, she taught at Texas Woman’s University and at the University of North Texas.