The focal point of each year's American Liszt Society calendar of events. Historically, festivals have been held at a wide variety of locations in the United States and Canada. Festivals are typically hosted by a university, a library, a local ALS chapter, or a music performance organization.
Those interested in hosting a festival should contact the President of ALS.
International festivals have been added to provide performance opportunities abroad for ALS members.
Such festivals have been held in China, Budapest, Prague, Brazil, and Italy.
2023 American Liszt Society Festival
at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL, May 18-21
The next festival of the American Liszt Society will take place May 18 - 21, 2023.
The theme will be "Liszt and Schubert." Dr. José López and Dr. Joseph Kingma will be hosting the event.
Highlights of the festival
- Lecture/presentations by Jay Rosenblatt ("Wanderer" Fantasy);
Mark DeZwaan (Liszt's editions of Schubert's piano works);
Ben and Elizabeth Arnold (Goethe settings by Schubert and Liszt);
and Alan Walker (Liszt and the Schubert song transcriptions)
- Works for 4-hands by Schubert, Czerny, Dvořák, and Smetana
- A session on 19th - 20th century Czech composers
- World Premiere of a piano work composed for the Festival by FIU's Orlando Jacinto García,
co-commissioned by the South Florida Chapter and James Madison University's Chapter
- Presentations of Schubert lieder and Liszt transcriptions
- The complete Die Schöne Müllerin cycle
- A session of songs by Afro-Cuban composer José Manuel "Lico" Jiménez (1852-1917) and Peter Gast (1854-1918),
Nietzsche's favorite composer
- The complete Soirées de Vienne and Années de Pèlerinage Book I ("Suisse")
*For a complete schedule as of March 14, 2023, please go to the 2023 ALS Festival.
We look forward to seeing you in May!
Why Attend a Liszt Festival?
Franz Liszt was perhaps the most misunderstood musician in the history of our art. His image has been used as a model of showmanship and shallow virtuosity. In fact, one important source on the history of piano playing includes a chapter on Liszt entitled
"Thunder, Lightning, Mesmerism, and Sex"! (Harold Schonberg, The Great Pianists.)
One has only to read a few pages of Alan Walker's monumental three-volume biography of Franz Liszt before realizing that, in truth, Liszt was a deep thinker, and he had a profound effect on the musical minds of his day.
His inspiration, genius, and generosity influenced the development of musical thought well into the twentieth century.
His was an attitude of service to his fellow musicians and to humanity.
The paradox of the notoriety of his worldly existence has, for over a century, obscured the deep religious conviction evident in his music.
The Annual Conferences, also known as Festivals, of The American Liszt Society, hosted by various universities or other organizations throughout North America, provide an opportunity to learn more about this fascinating musician through lectures, recitals, master classes, and concerts.
Often, a sumptuous banquet and informal receptions are included in the itinerary, which most often covers a three-day time span. Perhaps equally important is the camaraderie enjoyed by Festival participants and the new musical friendships that are established as an outgrowth of the event.
Each Conference/Festival has a theme that presents Liszt's music and the music of his contemporaries and successors in public venues.
Some Liszt Festival themes have included "An Exploration of the Italian Aspect of Liszt: Spirituality, Italian Art and Poetry, and Virtuosity,"; "The Works for Piano and Orchestra,"; "Heaven on Earth: Exploring the Sacred in Music,"; "A Celebration of Liszt and Matthay"; "Liszt in Paris"; "Anniversaries and Connections"; "Liszt in Weimar"; "Liszt and the Future"; "Celebrating Liszt and Chopin"; "Liszt as Missionary,"; "Liszt and Hungary,"; and "Liszt and His Pupils." to name just a few.
The yearly Conference/Festival and its partner events will appeal to scholars, performers, and music lovers of all ages,
from professional musicians to young students.
Hopefully, by attending these festivals, an image of Liszt will emerge for you that will contribute to a reassessment of his treasury of uplifting music, his importance in the dissemination of music throughout Europe in the nineteenth century, and his beneficence that allowed both the mighty and the meek to attain a higher spiritual and musical good. We sincerely hope it will be possible for you to join us in an unforgettable musical experience!