Keeping the maestro’s memory alive

Ferenc Liszt’s former apartment in Budapest

Can a memorial museum recall something of the vitality of a former home? The approach to museums and history on the part of its exhibition organisers must have contributed to the fact that artifice is avoided at the Ferenc Liszt Memorial Museum. At the same time, even the twenty-five years that have passed since its opening have not faded the museum’s vitality. Perhaps the fact that two of the staff working at the museum have been employed there since its foundation has something to do with the matter. Mária Eckhardt managed the museum until 2009, since when she has been its consultant manager, while Zsuzsanna Domokos, the present director, was employed as a researcher when the museum was established. As for the past, the Academy of Music operated here from the autumn of 1879 to the middle of 1907. The location is said to have been the scene of the highest level of music education in Hungary. In effect it was the second in chronological order. The Academy of Music – Ferenc Liszt was its founding president and professor – took students already in 1875 in a building on Hal Square. When that was demolished the Academy moved to Vörösmarty Street. Liszt got an official apartment on the first floor of the building in January 1881. Whenever he stayed in Budapest the apartment was his home until the year of his death, 1886. The Academy of Music moved to its beautiful building on Liszt Ferenc Square in 1907. The building in Vörösmarty Street accommodated a music school, coffee house, political and social associations and a business enterprise. Finally, in 1980 the Ministry of Culture bought the building and handed it over to the Academy of Music which used it for its courses. Then the Frenc Liszt Memorial Museum and Research Centre opened in 1986.