János Balázs is one of six young artists at the beginning of their careers whom the European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO) has chosen to take part in its Rising Stars project this year. As a consequence, the 25-year-old musician will have the chance to perform in the most illustrious concert venues in Europe this season. Winner of numerous prestigious international competitions and already a successful participant at a number of festivals, the pianist will naturally also take the stage on his “home turf” of the Palace of Arts. The music of the Romantic period enjoys a special place in the repertoire of this Junior Prima Prize-winning pianist, born in 1988. Testament to this is the Hungarian tour he embarked upon in 2010, in which he played Chopin’s complete works for piano over the course of 16 concerts. On this occasion, however, he plays a selection spanning the musical output of some 200 years, from the Viennese classics to the present day. He has compiled a programme of works which are mostly connected to the sublime or the supernatural, as well as to the genre of variations, and which place extraordinary technical demands on the performer. A genuine treat, for example, is the series of variations Beethoven composed on the British national anthem, written at around the same time as his Eroica symphony in the early 1800s. The interesting aspect of the large-scale Chopin work to be heard here, dedicated to Baroness D’Este, is that it was originally written partly for orchestra with piano accompaniment. Schubert’s Impromptu in B-flat major is a theme with variations and was one of the composer’s last works, published only posthumously. The pairing of works by Franz Liszt and László Dubrovay promises to be exciting as both are connected to the story of Faust. In between these two, Balázs evokes a seemingly frightening but suddenly evaporating nightmare of Ravel from the cycle Gaspard de la nuit.