Monday, February 2, 2009

Budapest and Lancaster exchange culture

The co-founders and, respectively, president and dean of the Pennsylvania Academy of Music (PAM), Michael Jamanis and his wife Fran Veri, are exploring musical education in Budapest and also giving a Gershwin concert at the Palace of the Art to an expected audience of 450, including many of the nations political and cultural leaders.

Completed in 2005, the Budapest Palace of the Arts is considered to be one of the world's great performing arts centers.

After inspecting the 450 seat Fesitval Hall where they will perform Wednesday night and trying out the two Steinway 9' grand pianos, the couple took a tour of the 1,300 seat Bela Bartok concert hall.

Later they observed a 'sold out concert' for infants and young children featuring two students from the Franz Liszt Music Academy who performed a number of Bartok violin duets standing on a low podium. At the end of the concert children from the audience where allowed on the podium to touch the instruments and the performers themselves!

Veri and Jamanis also visited the faculty and students at Zoltan Kodaly elementary school where they are observing group and individual music instruction based on the concepts developed by 20th century Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly.

The recently completed $30 million signature building for PAM is the center piece for an eventual world class music academy for high school students from around the world. If and when their vision is realized, downtown Lancaster will become one of the leading cultural centers of the nation outside major cities.