2,000 forint - 100th anniversary of the birth of György Cziffra
To honour György Cziffra, the MNB will issue a silver collector coin with a face value of 7,500 forints and its non-ferrous version of 2,000 forints, marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Hungarian Heritage Award and Liszt Ferenc Award winning virtuoso pianist, one of the most significant and globally renowned performers of Hungarian origin. Designed by sculptor Mihály Fritz, the collector coins will be issued on 22 October 2021, at the Cziffra ’56 Memorial Concert in the Liszt Academy’s concert hall. The world-famous Hungarian pianist and virtuoso of improvisational skills, György Cziffra (1921-1994), the master of the literature of romantic piano pieces, had the obvious ability to synthesise different styles. He was born in a family of musicians and being a wonder kid, he started attending the Liszt Academy at the age of eight. His promising career was shattered by the world war, captivity in a POW camp, imprisonment for a failed attempt to emigrate and labour camp. Cziffra lived from hand to mouth playing the piano in bars and was handed opportunities to perform in concerts in the 1950s. On 22 October 1956, he played Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 at the Erkel theatre. It was a huge success. The history of music and the events of the Revolution were intertwined by this concert. He emigrated to Paris with his family where his international career took off. He became one of the most sought-after pianists. He founded his own international competition in Versailles. He renovated the ruined cathedral in Senlis and turned it into a concert hall and named it after Ferenc Liszt. Here, the most renowned musicians performed year after year. His exceptional achievements, skills, personality, his career supporting young people are exemplary even today. Joining in the György Cziffra anniversary year organised mainly by János Balázs, Kossuth Award winning pianist, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank is issuing a silver collector coin with a face value of 7,500 forints and its non-ferrous metal version of 2,000 forints. The primary role these collector coins have is to raise awareness of György Cziffra’s career. The silver and non-ferrous metal coins have the same design, the only difference being the denominations. The obverse of the coins features György Cziffra in the Saint-Frambourg chapel located in Senlis, France in the Ferenc Liszt auditorium of the ‘Fondation Cziffra’ centre founded by the pianist while performing. The compulsory elements of collector coins are also placed on the obverse: at the bottom, in two lines the lettering ‘MAGYARORSZÁG’ (Hungary), referring to the issuer and the denominations 7,500 and 2,000 Ft. On the right, inserted inside the representation of the chapel, the mint mark ‘BP.’ and the mint year ‘2021’ are positioned in two lines. On the reverse, György Cziffra’s portrait is seen with a concentrated look on his face that was so typical of him. To the right of the portrait, in three lines the inscription CZIFFRA GYÖRGY and the years ‘1921-1994’ are placed referring to the birth and the death of the world-famous pianist. The master mark of sculptor Mihály Fritz, who designed the coin, is also found on the reverse.