Magyar maestro Ferenc (Franz) Liszt traveled to many cities during his lifetime, but he returned to Budapest to enjoy the last years of his old age in the music academy that he founded on Vörösmarty Street; here his apartment still preserves his legacy as a memorial museum that appears unchanged after more than a century. It is a fascinating experience to walk amid the personal belongings of this wonderful Hungarian virtuoso, making the residence a beloved downtown destination for local and international classical-music aficionados, where anyone can admire Liszt’s well-preserved possessions.
Budapest’s Hidden-Gem Museums: Ferenc Liszt Memorial Museum
Outside the Budapest Puppet Theater on Andrássy Avenue, a black-and-white bench decorated with piano keys draws attention to a small commemorative museum found just a few meters away. Directly in front of the Vörösmarty Street stop of the Millennium Underground, we find the old building of the Academy of Music on Andrássy Avenue, which used to be the residence of Ferenc Liszt; now his former quarters are a museum on the first floor, a setting that seems unchanged since the Magyar maestro lived there.
While Liszt lived here whenever he was in Budapest between 1881 and 1886, the year of his death, many Hungarianstudents, composers, and musicians used to come and go around the impressive apartment.
In the two larger rooms, all the furniture is at the same spot as when Liszt resided here. At the main entrance a metal sign still welcomes everyone by stating: “Ferenc Liszt can be found at his residence on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, between 3pm and 4pm”.
The room in the center used to be the dining room; its exact setup is not known, but now it is home to temporary exhibitions. The chamber on the right is the bedroom-bureau – here, we find Liszt’s iconic black hat, his resting chair, and his prayer stool beside the bed. (The composer took holy orders in the 1860s.)
The main desk was designed especially for Liszt by piano manufacturer Ludwig Bösendorfer. The cleverly built-in keyboard in the middle is an ideal spot for composing.
The walls of the spacious salon are all covered with blue wallpaper. There are several instruments in here, among which we even found one that was a present from a prestigious Boston company, which considered it important to provide a piano for all the virtuosos who travel around the world with their music.
Among the original old furniture there is also a small table with a truly retro item, used for pressing cards straight and hard. It makes visitors wonder about Liszt playing cards with his friends, and tidily putting the deck away afterwards.
The small museum is definitely worth a visit; there are only four rooms, but it holds a truly thrilling experience for music enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
Franz Liszt Memorial Museum
Address: District VI. Vörösmarty utca 35 Website