Very few people know that the composer of the Korean Anthem, Ahn Eak Tai, lived and studied in Budapest, too. He learned composition of music from Kodály Zoltán, whose guidance was of determining importance for his music and career. The Ahn Eak Tai statue was erected by Hungary-Korea Society. Initiator and manager of the erection of the statue and the series of events connected with the unveiling of the statue was Szegő Andrea. Sponsors: the Municipal Government of Seoul City, the Municipal Government of Budapest, the Local Government of the 14th district, (Zugló) the Local Government of the 11th district of Budapest, (Újbuda). The statue was created by Zsin Judit, sculptor. The statue was unveiled by:
Papcsák Ferenc, mayor of Zugló, Szegő Andrea, president of Hungary-Korea, Eleanor Ahn, daughter of Ahn Eak Tai, Kim Hyung-Ju, deputy mayor of Seoul, Nam Gwan-Pyo, ambassador, Csomós Miklós, deputy mayor of Budapest.
The event was a special one all the more because this is the first Korean monument in Europe.
Ahn Eak Tai lived in Budapest in he period of 1938-1941. Two years from 1939 he was a student of Liszt Academy of Music. He learned music composition from Kodály Zoltán whose guidance was of determining importance for his musical career. That is why Kodály Zoltán is mentioned as one of Ahn Eak Tai’s masters. He enjoyed the attention of giants of Hungarian musical life like Bartók Béla and Dohnányi Ernő.
Ahn Eak Tai’s statue has at least two messages. One of them is that the statue is a symbol of the friendship between the Hungarian and Korean people. The other one is that the statue is a symbol of strong human resolution” – Szegő Andrea said in her welcome remarks.
The oeuvre of Ahn Eak Tai deserves recognition and respect all the more he had to face great difficulties during his life. Let us think of the fact that Korea was a Japanese colony in the period of 1910 and 1945 and under these circumstances he wanted to become the composer of the Korean people and its worldwide recognized conductor.
The Korean delegation arriving for the unveiling ceremony, headed by Kim Hyung-Ju, deputy mayor of Seoul City took part at the concert the evening before and at the festive unveiling of the statue.
We can be thankful to the Municipal Government of Budapest that the statue can stand at this beautiful venue, in the biggest and mostly visited public park of Budapest, in the City Park.
“It is often said but not without a reason that music is a bridge between nations. Even the expression comes from the music, it brings in harmony the representatives of various cultures” – that is how Csomós Miklós, deputy mayor of Budapest, Hungarian Main Speaker of the event started his speech.
Then he went on with this: „Both Kodály Zoltán and Richard Strauss were proud of their desciple. Talent of the young composer and the remote world that he represented fascinated his European teachers. We, Hungarians, are proud of the fact that this world famous composer started his career here in Hungary.
The support of Zugló Local Government contributed to the positive decision of the Municipal Government of Budapest. Zugló Local Government took charge of the inspection, superintendence of the Ahn Eak Tai statue.
The unveiling ceremony was started with Aegukga, the Korean national anthem, and the end could be nothing else than again the music of Ahn Eak Tai.
The exhibition showing the period of life of Ahn Eak Tai connected with Hungary with documents and photos of that age was opened on the same day.