Hubay Music Hall
Bem rakpart 11 Budapest, Hungary 1011
Phone: +36-1-457-8080

Room history

Jenő Hubay built his house on the banks of the river Danube in 1897-98 from the income of his concerts. The windows of the originally three storey building, to which another floor was added later, overlook the Danube (Margit embankment, today Bem embankment) and Fő street. On the first floor of the middle wing a white music hall was created, to which the owner of Bösendorfer, to pay his respect, sent a white piano from Vienna as a present. At this impressive location musical, literary or other artistic gatherings were held regularly, which were considered highlights of Hungarian cultural life for over four decades. Hubay also owned a unique collection of antiquities admired by all guests arriving to his home: artists, state and church leaders, aristocrats, diplomats and other well known, brilliant minds.

From the 1920s the musical events held every Sunday were called musical afternoons, most of which were broadcast by the radio from 1925, often internationally. Hubay invited the most famous musicians to perform, but he also provided young performers at the start of their careers with opportunities to introduce themselves to the public. His students performed regularly between these walls, for example Stefi Geyer, Ferenc Vecsey, József Szigeti, Imre Waldbauer, Zoltán Székely, Ede Zathureczky, Endre Gertler and Sándor Végh and the piano was played by artists such as Bela Bartok, Annie Fischer, Felix Weingartner and Richard Strauss. Arturo Toscanini, Bruno Walter, Yehudi Menuhin, Ruggiero Ricci, Pietro Mascagni and Vincent d’Indy have also been here and played with Hubay. It was the intention of Hubay to create, through music, a connection between politicians and artists, so that they could communicate freely, forgetting everyday troubles, during the breaks between music pieces.

Due to the master’s death in 1937 the concerts were on hold. After two years, however, his widow re-launched the series at public demand. In 1944, as the front was getting closer, the family placed its most valuable paintings, carpets and furniture in the Music Hall, as they considered it more protected than the rooms overlooking the Danube or Fő street. The last concert was given in the autumn of 1944, in honour of the dying countess Róza Hubay Cebrian. During the war Jewish refugees were sheltered in the cellar of the house, some rooms were used by the Red Cross for storage. At the beginning of 1945 the side of the house closer to the Danube was hit by a bomb, the façade caved in and the main entrance and the rooms overlooking the street were destroyed.

The palace was nationalised after the war. From the remaining parts a dozen of apartments were created, while the music hall and two neighbouring rooms were used as offices for a long time, without much care for maintenance and renovations. The part of the lot on the bank of the Danube was empty until as late as 1990, where one of the first privately owned hotels of Budapest was built, Hotel Victoria. As the result of much effort, in 2007 the owners of the hotel bought the neighbouring rooms on the first floor of the Hubay palace: the white Music Hall, two salons and the original wooden staircase. Renovations reinstalling the original state began during the autumn of the same year and were completed during the spring of 2008. Today visitors can admire the original beauty of these rooms.