‘I’m happy because Novi Sad is the European Capital of Culture 2022, whatever that means. Culture is the most important thing in life. Without culture and art, nothing functions,’ said Hungarian composer, violinist and violist Szilárd Mezei. He will, together with his ensemble, hold a concert in the Cultural Centre of Novi Sad on Friday, 12 August, as part of ‘The Danube Sea’ programme arch of the European Capital of Culture.
As a composer, Szilárd Mezei explores the connection between improvisation and composition, which includes elements of jazz and authentic traditional music. He is actively involved in composing stage music and plays traditional Hungarian music on folk instruments.
The original Hungarian folk music is like my musical mother tongue. Since childhood, it was always present in the family, in the immediate environment. However, except for one project, in which I arrange and compose Hungarian folk songs from Vojvodina, I don’t use the original folk music in my compositions as quotes or covers, but I hope that it is, in addition to being stylistically adapted, incorporated into my playing and musical thinking. It serves as an inspiration, a musical phenomenon which is like a role model to me,’ said the musician.
Szilárd Mezei was born in Senta. He learned to play the violin in his hometown and Subotica while he completed his composition studies at the University of Belgrade.
‘I studied composition in Belgrade at the Faculty of Music, mentored by Professor Zoran Erić. I lived in Novi Sad for many years, and all my close associates are from Novi Sad,’ said the musician, who is holding his next concert in Novi Sad.
‘At the concert in Novi Sad, on 12 August, we will perform my compositions, in which improvisation has an important role, in the sense of improvised pieces within the written composition, such as solos, group improvisations and collective improvisations. The musicians in my ensembles are carefully selected. They are creative musicians, my long-term collaborators, who are open, feel a sense of humility towards written and unwritten parts, and give their contribution to the whole image,’ said Szilárd Mezei, whose concert programme will include old compositions arranged for this ensemble, and some new compositions written for this occasion, which the audience will hear for the first time.
Szilárd Mezei thinks that improvisation in music, and life in general, is one of the most significant approaches to music.
‘Improvising in music is very demanding because it requires a very broad knowledge of playing the instrument, knowledge of musical literature and heritage, complete openness in communication, deep humility, deep empathy towards partners, and above all creativity,’ said the well-known musician who believes that musicians need to be ‘put in a position’ in order to feel what it means to play without a predetermined note, without notes, just by yourself.
All interested visitors will have a chance to attend the concert, taking place in the Cultural Centre of Novi Sad on Friday, 12 August at 8 p.m., free of charge.
Author: Feđa Putnik