hungarian center
for early music

History and Mission

The aim of the Haydneum is to champion the merits of early music in Hungary and popularise the Hungarian-linked repertoire from the Baroque, Viennese Classical and early romantic periods (1630-1830)

The aim of the foundation, established by the Hungarian Government in 2021, is to continue the international efforts of the past 50 years to revitalise the Baroque and to support and popularise early music performance in Hungary by organising research, sheet music publication, training courses, concerts and performances. Its activities will focus on rediscovering, preserving and disseminating the Hungarian-linked repertoire from the Baroque, Viennese Classical and early romantic periods (1630-1830). Our aim is for a line-up of outstanding performers to dazzle concert-goers with an outstanding repertoire at festivals every year in Budapest, Eszterháza and elsewhere in Hungary, as well as abroad.

Esterházy kastély

Haydneum Repertoire

The repertoire of Haydneum combines two different aspects of the Hungary-related Baroque, Classical and early Romantic musical heritage. First, it covers works composed in Hungary (partly by Hungarian composers) at the time and a wealth of 17th, 18th and 19th-century compositions written in other countries but preserved in Hungarian libraries and archives.

First and foremost, our mission is to catalogue, research, publish and perform compositions written by composers active in the Hungarian territories. Our efforts are centred around the oeuvres of well-known masters (such as Joseph and Michael Haydn, Johann Nepomuk Hummel), and less well-known composers (like Gregor Joseph Werner, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, Benedek Istvánffy, Frédéric Kalkbrenner, Johann Sigismund Kusser, Georg Christoph Strattner, Anton Zimmermann or Franz Wenzel Zivilhofer). Besides, Haydneum places particular emphasis on promoting Italian, German, French and English sheet music collections preserved in libraries and archives in Hungary; these manuscripts attest to the international cultural interactions between artists and compositions in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

Eszterháza and Haydn

The Esterházy Palace in Fertőd-Eszterháza is the only location in modern-day Hungary that is circled in red ink on the map of eighteenth-century European music history. Joseph Haydn worked there for almost half of his active life, from 1766 to 1790, and during that period he spent most of every year there in the service of Prince Nicholas Esterházy I ‘the Magnificent’.

Without the enormously generous patronage, musical interests and expertise of Nicholas Esterházy, European music history would be very different. Haydn would probably have become a composer genius anywhere he went, but here in Hungary he was able to develop his art in a very special and supportive environment that was isolated from the rest of the world and was therefore conducive to experimenting. This made Eszterháza a centre of period high culture, whose shine lit up the whole of Europe.

Haydneum - Esterhazy kastély

Haydn's Work

Joseph Haydn, one of the most important figures in European music history, was active in the court of the Esterházy princes in Hungary for many decades in the latter half of the eighteenth century. Haydn’s name and personality defined Hungarian musical life in that period. It was only natural therefore that he should give his name to the Haydneum.

A creator of styles and genres that inspired the whole of Europe, Joseph Haydn can be regarded as the most international composer of his time, who took every European capital from London, Berlin and Paris to Vienna by storm. While his activity may have obscured the reputation of many of his predecessors and contemporaries, they nevertheless owe him infinite recognition. In an effort to remedy the injustice of posterity, the Haydneum seeks to present Haydn and his oeuvre in a broader context that boasts remarkable personalities and splendid musical scores.

Joseph Haydn