Liszt statue in Toronto

A whole-figure statue of Ferenc Liszt has been inaugurated at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Jeff Embleton the Manager of Public Relations mailed me the photo of the 7 feet (2.25m) tall sculpture which was generously donated by Mr. Tamás Fekete, a Canadian with Hungarian roots, who arrived to Canada after 1956. Mr. Fekete already donated a similarly whole-figure bronze statue of Béla Bartók to the institution

The sculptor is also Hungarian, Géza Stremeny. His works include the statue of interwar Prime Minister Count István Bethlen in Buda Castle and Count Lajos Batthyány, head of the country’s first government, on the Budapest square bearing his name. The statue was transported to Canada by air, where it was unveiled in the Conservatory building. At the ceremony one of the speakers was noted Canadian Liszt expert Alan Walker.

Ferenc Liszt, this 19th century piano virtuoso and composer, is popular in Hungary. Budapest Airport was named after him, and he is considered a great Hungarian. Recently questions were raised about his true identity, since many in neighboring Austrian consider him Austrian, and in Germany many think that he is an ethnic German.

The Liszt statue was donated by Mr. Tamás Fekete.

The Liszt statue was donated by Mr. Tamás Fekete.

When his birthplace, the small Austrian town of Raiding (Doborján in Hungarian) celebrated the 200th anniversary of his birth, they staged a series of music events called Lisztomania. The organizers carefully side-stepped the touchy issue of nationality by describing Liszt as “the European genius from Raiding.”

While Liszt had Hungarian travel documents, his family and children had no connection to the country. His famous daughter Cosima married über-German Richard Wagner and considered herself German; she never mentioned her Hungarian roots.

Ferenc (or Franz) Liszt on one of his memorable concerts in Pest announced to the audience – “I’m Hungarian”. His admirers jumped up and rewarded the Maestro with a standing ovation for this declaration of “Hungarianness.” He actually said “Je suis hongrois” in French, since the great pianist didn’t speak a word of Hungarian. Yet he was dressed in a traditional Hungarian costume, and a group of noblemen presented him with a symbolic saber.

The Royal Conservatory of Music has another connection to Hungary. Peter Simon, the Conservatory’s president is a Hungarian-born Canadian, he took over the institution in 1991 and made it a great success.

Congratulations for the new Liszt statue!

György Lázár


  1. Avatar László Rudas says:

    Congratulations to the new statue!

  2. Avatar thomas fekete says:

    thank you very much for the publicity

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *