On 31 July 2021, we commemorate the 135th anniversary of the death of Ferenc Liszt

"Genius obliges!"

This was the motto of Ferenc Liszt, one of the greatest Hungarian musicians of the 19th century, who died in Bayreuth on 31 July 1886.

Beyond the musical genius, it is also worth remembering the cosmopolitan, the European citizen.

In 1822, his family left Doborján in Sopron County in Hungary and moved to Vienna so that the child genius could receive a proper education. However, Liszt, then only ten years old, did not only take piano lessons or study music theory with Salieri, but also learned English and French.

From there he moved to Paris. During his lifetime he lived in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Hungary and gave concerts all over Europe, from England to Turkey. He also visited Belgium, home of our Institute, several times and gave his last concert in Luxembourg. This is commemorated by a plaque.

Although half of Europe was his homeland in the broader sense, he proudly declared himself Hungarian: "Allow me to remain Hungarian in heart and soul from birth to death, despite my regrettable ignorance of the Hungarian language."

Here in Brussels, we not only remember with pride this grandiose and influential figure of Romanticism, but we are also preparing a number of programmes for the double anniversary this autumn.