On 30 March 180 years ago, the 19th-century king of piano Franz Liszt performed in the assembly hall of the University of Tartu. This noteworthy event will be commemorated on 30 March at 18:00 with a piano gala at the same concert venue. Some of the most beautiful and virtuosic pieces of Liszt’s piano works will played in the assembly hall of the University of Tartu by internationally acclaimed pianists Ivari Ilja, Kristi Kapten, Sten Lassmann, Marko Martin, Mati Mikalai, Johan Randvere and Mantas Šernius​.

Franz Liszt’s work and activities as a pianist significantly expanded the boundaries of pianism. It could be said that his work gave birth to the profession of a concert pianist as it is understood today. Liszt’s works are part of the repertoire of pianists of all ages, and the techniques and innovations he introduced are the basis of virtuoso piano playing. To this day, pianists are inspired by legends of Liszt’s performances, which were highly captivating and so spectactular that they even caused fainting among the audience.

The idea to celebrate Liszt’s concert in Tartu was born out of an extraordinary find. Namely, the poster of Franz Liszt’s concert in Tartu with the programme performed by Liszt was found in the cultural-historical collection of the Academic Library of Tallinn University. The original poster will also be displayed in the university assembly hall. One of the works to be played at the piano gala will be Liszt’s transcription of Schubert’s “Serenade”, which was performed at the concert 180 years ago.

According to Professor Ivari Ilja, pianist and Rector of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, it is extraordinary to think that such a great musician as Liszt visited Tartu and performed in the university assembly hall. “180 years will pass from that event on 30 March, but everywhere in the world people are still fascinated by his immortal music. Our gala concert is a tribute to the genius of Liszt, to Tartu and to the university,” Ilja said.

A brief overview of Liszt and his concerts in Estonia are given at the beginning of the gala by musicologist Kristel Pappel of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, and art historian Harry Liivrand. Simultaneous interpretation into English is provided at the gala.

The concert is free of charge. However, donations are welcome to the Estonian Red Cross to support Ukraine.