Farewell to Bálint András Varga (1941–2019)
In retrospect, Hungarian composers see the 1970s and 1980s as a golden age when Bálint András Varga as promotion manager of Editio Musica Budapest worked for the international recognition of their compositions. His impeccable English language skills, his ability to connect and his dedication quickly brought success and helped new Hungarian music, isolated from the outside world for decades, to gain international enthusiasts. His work at Editio Musica Budapest between 1971 and 1990 shaped the profile of the publishing house, just as later that of Universal Edition Wien. He summarized his credo as follows:
“Promotion managers are the publishers’ ambassadors, their faces for the world outside. You must be utterly dependable, inquiries must be answered, scores and recordings posted immediately on receiving requests for them. Also, you must have – as far as possible – a winning personality. Your customers should look forward to your visits, take time for and have faith in you: if you suggest that a composition is worth listening to, they must take you seriously.”
His insatiable curiosity for new compositions and their authors produced many volumes of interviews with Lutosławski, Berio, Xenakis, and his favourite composer, György Kurtág that have been translated to English and will continuously serve as source material for future generations.
Bálint, we shall miss your knowledge, your taste, your advice, and your unique personality!