Christmas is coming to London with Hungarian folk melodies

For this year's traditional Advent concert István Pál Szalonna and his band, a favourite of the British Royal Family, will create a festive atmosphere for us online.

On the third Sunday of Advent, at 6 PM local time, traditional Hungarian Christmas melodies will com straight from the ceremonial hall of the Royal Castle of Gödöllő.

This is not the first time that the Liszt Ferenc Prize-winning Hungarian artist and orchestra has formed a cultural bridge between the British and Hungarian communities. In 2006, as representatives of the Republic of Hungary, they took part in the Ceremony of 1956 of the United Kingdom in the company of such outstanding artists as Oscar-winner Jeremy Irons, pianist Tamás Vásáry and Grammy-winning folk singer Márta Sebestyén. After the show, Szalonna was personally congratulated by the Prince of Wales and Baroness Margaret Thatcher, among others. The Royal Family has invited them several times since, most recently for the 70th birthday celebrations of Prince Charles.

Although this year the world is paying attention to something else, for us Hungarians, 2020 is also the year of national unity. This year we have organized several programmes connecting the people in Hungary and historical Hungarian communities beyond our borders and the Hungarian diaspora in the United Kingdom. Szalonna and her band will offer a worthy closing to this series of events. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus epidemic, they can't be with us live, but the situation has an advantage, because instead of a single evening, the concert can be enjoyed for the rest of the year, and the recording was made in the imposing, beautifully renovated Gödöllő castle.” - said Máté Vincze, director of the Hungarian Cultural Centre in London.

The members of the band are also musicians of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, regular participants in prestigious music festivals and events in Hungary, Europe and overseas.

The Royal Castle of Gödöllő is one of the largest baroque castles in Hungary. During the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, Queen Elizabeth (Sisi) used it as a popular resting place. Today, in addition to its faithfully renovated representative spaces, which also meet the highest protocol requirements, its colourful cultural program makes it an attractive, special institution and tourist destination.


Date: December 13, 2020 6:00 PM
The concert will be presented on the Facebook and YouTube channels of the Hungarian Cultural Center in London. It will remain available after December 13th.

Band members

  • István Pál ‘Bacon’: primate, Ferenc Liszt Prize-winning Hungarian folk musician, artistic director of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble
  • Eszter Pál: singer of the orchestra, holder of the title of Master of Folk Art, teacher of the Vác Music Conservatory
  • Róbert Doór: Holder of the Hungarian Cross of Merit, professor at the Department of Folk Music of the Liszt Ferenc University of Music
  • Tamás Gombai: holder of the Hungarian Cross of Merit, violin teacher of the Department of Folk Music of the Liszt Ferenc University of Music
  • Ferenc Sándor Ürmös: dulcimer
  • Attila Gera: holder of the Hungarian Cross of Merit award, plays excellently on almost all wind instruments of the Carpathian Basin
  • Gyula Karacs: holder of the Hungarian Cross of Merit, viola