Erika Budai (Tienen, °1966) began her choral education at the age of 6 and took part in concerts in, inter alia, Hungary and The United States of America. She took classes in music theory and harmony from Ludo Hulshagen, violin from Yvonne Dispa and piano from Thérèse Wagemans at the Musicacadamy in Tienen. At eighteen she received the Golden City Medal of Tienen and the Silver Government Medal with Greatest Distinction for her piano playing.
Erika Budai began her higher music studies at the Lemmens Institute in Leuven (now LUCA School of Arts), where she studied piano under Levente Kende. As electives she studied singing under Dina Grossberger and transverse flute under Carl Lenski. In 1986 she joined the Belgian association for authors, SABAM, as a composer and author.
From 1990 on she studied at the Royal Music Conservatory in Brussels, where she received first prize in harmony in the class of Marcel De Jonghe and a teaching certificate for harmony, music theory and music history. She also obtained a certificate in electronic music taught by Eric Feremans and film music by Walter Christian Rothe, a film music composer from Hollywood. In 1992 and 1993 she was the laureate in the composing competition ‘Young Composers” in Brussels. She completed her studies in counterpoint and fugue under Ludo Claesen and became proficient in music composition and orchestration under Kurt Bikkembergs and Piet Swerts.
Thanks to a scholarship Erika Budai was able to take masterclasses in composition in Darmstadt from, inter alia, Karl-Heinze Stockhausen, Wolfgang Rhim and Brian Ferneyhaugh (Germany 1996). She also took masterclasses in the international choir of British conductor Sir Timothy Brown (Mount Scopus University of Jerusalem, Israël in 2010; Torino, Italy in 2021 and Akko, Israël in 2013.).
Budai's first piano quartet, Male Cocktail, was world premiered in the Béla Bartók house in Budapest (Hungary, March 2000). As a composer Erika Budai completed many commissions, for, among others: Vlaams Radiokoor under the direction of Vic Nees and Johan Duijck, the University Choir of Leuven (December 2001), the national piano competition Excellentia (Linkebeek 2001 and 2004), the Festival of Flanders (Cantate Sounds of Earth, Kortrijk 2003) and for the national music competition Dexia Classics (Brussels 2005). She also wrote songs and arrangements for Jo Lemaire, Johan Verminnen, and Johnny Logan.
At the time of writing Erika Budai has about 160 compositions to her name, of which most are for choir and chamber music. Her pieces are generally published by Euprint (Heverlee, Belgium), First Class Projects (Sint-Amands, Belgium) and Intrada (Heerenveen, The Netherlands).
Teacher and jury member
As a fixed member of the Antwerp concert association Crescendo, Budai worked as a choir conductor in Berlin (Germany) and Pontmain (Frankrijk) from 1999 to 2004. Since 1998 Erika Budai has been asked to be a juror for the International Festival for Youth in Neerpelt, as well as for provincial choir and composing competitions.
Since 2009 Erika Budai has been employed as a juror for international music competitions in Lecco (Italy), Bratislava (Slowakije) and Split (Croatia). In February 2012 she was appointed to the Executive Board of the Béla Bartók archive at the Royal Albertina library in Brussels. Erika Budai teaches harmony and music composition at the City Conservatory of Leuven. Since 2006 she has been the organiser of the composer platform De Kleine Amadeus in Louvain, where talented students are given the opportunity to put their own compositions on point.
Choral work (selection)
- De bello Gallico for SATB en SSA, published by De Notenboom, available via Koor&Stem.
- The Chocolate Factory for SATB and SSAA, published by Euprint.
- Regenboog van goud for children's choir with piano accompaniment, published by Euprint.
- Gaudeamus for SATB, published by Euprint.
- Hodie Christus natus est for SATB, published by Euprint.
- May Flower for SATB, published by First Class Projects.
- Zigeunerlieder for female voices and piano or mixed voices and piano, published by Euprint.
- Do not stand at my grave and weep voor vrouwenkoor – voor gemengd koor, uitgegeven door First Class Projects
- Mystica – 7-part suite for female choir on texts by Hildegard Von Bingen.
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