This exhibition examines a process in which "Hungarian" music and czardas are combined with the influence of Roma musicians to form a coherent part of the Hungarian national culture. The works of such artists as Ferenc Liszt, Miklós Barabás, Sándor Petőfi or Mihály Vörösmárty, all include a "Gypsy" theme, which is "Hungarian" music and dance, as well as a common way of thinking about Gypsies and how they are presented.
The exhibition displays the history of Hungarian Gypsy music bands from their formation in the second half of the 18th century up to the present day, depicting everything from folk bands to orchestras touring worldwide, from the creation of large ensembles to the Gypsy Orchestra, boasting 100 members, as an inherent and bonding element of Hungaricum. Furthermore, the exhibition examines the creation of this closed and endogamous group, as well as its specific and distinctive customs.
The Rajkó Orchestra was formed in 1952 by director Pál Szigeti and Gyula Farkas, the artistic director and conductor, in order to cultivate and refine the tradition of Gypsy music among young Gypsies living in different parts of the country.
The main goal of the Orchestra was to raise Gypsy music to the ranks of world music. Since its inception, over one thousand of young artists have participated in it. Numerous CDs, DVDs and video recordings comprise the amazingly rich repertoire of the Rajkó, Orchestra, which includes works of famous composers such as Zoltán Kodály, Béla Bartók and Ferenc Liszt. The repertoire includes classical music as well as Gypsy music, folk music or even operettas. The range of the orchestra is demonstrated by such productions as: "Klezmer Symphony" performed with the Klezmer Band, or “Romantiáda” performed with the famous ballet master, Iván Markó and his troupe.
The Rajkó Orchestra has performed over 10 thousand times throughout the world, in almost 110 countries. Their amazing music has been heard and admired by audiences approaching 10 million in total, in locations ranging from well-known concert halls to small towns, throughout Europe, North and South America, and Asia. Attracting a lot of interest, especially among the younger audiences, Rajkó Orchestra's instrumentation and unique sound are unmistakably their own.
The unbroken string of victories of the Rajkó Orchestra is owed to a love of music, virtuosity achieved through dedicating hours upon hours to rehearsing, the arduous pursuit of excellence, and a perfect orchestration and harmoniousness.
In January 2003, the orchestra received the Zoltán Kodály Public Education Award from the Pro Renovanda Cultura Hungariae Foundation, for their achievements in cultivating the Hungarian and Gypsy musical culture, and for educating young talents.
In 2004 the Rajkó Orchestra received the titled of the "National Youth Orchestra" in Hungary – an achievement that had never before been awarded to a Gypsy orchestra. Ever since, the Orchestra has been described as "Hungaricum." These are only a few of the orchestra's awards and distinctions.
András Suki is the orchestra's artistic director, and István Gerendási is its director.
The Rajkó orchestra is also the "Ambassador of Hungarian Culture."
The event is organized by the Hungarian Institute of Culture and Consulate General of Hungary in Krakow as part of the Year of Hungarian Culture in Poland.