House of Hungarian Music: a harmonious blend of visitor attraction and concert venue

An experiential attraction presenting music through the ages is coupled with world-class performance spaces to make sure the House of Hungarian Music shares the history of music, while also contributing to the ongoing narrative. Anna Mitchell reports.

Once home to a dilapidated and graffiti ravaged office block, there’s a secluded spot in a Budapest city park that now fosters a surprising treasure. Woven into the wooded landscape of Varosliget public park sits a unique and beautiful building. The brainchild of Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, the venue uses flowing organic forms, perforated roof and glass walls to blur the boundaries between the inside and outside.

Part of the staggeringly ambitious cultural project Liget Budapest, this is the House of Hungarian Music. It was created to not just honour the strong history of Hungarian musicians (that count Zoltán Kodály, Béla Bartók, Ferenc Erkel and Ferenc Liszt among their ranks), but to also keep that tradition going with a performance space and concert venue.

When it came to AV systems, the House of Hungarian Music was divided into two, with contracts up for grabs to design and supply AV systems for a permanent exhibition and separately for the rest of the house which includes the concert hall, open air stage and education spaces including a lecture hall and library.

Subcontracted by Sou Fujimoto Architects, Interton Group acted as integrator for the permanent exhibition and consultant and integrator for the rest of the facility.


Total immersion

 Located in the basement, the 1,000 sq m permanent exhibition uses cutting edge technology to immerse visitors in the history and culture of music in Europe and Hungary. Information is provided through playful and interactive entertainment and more than 50 unique attractions for visitors to explore that take them from the birth of music to the present day.

“This was an exciting part of the project for us because we are very passionate about the experience learning process,” says Géza Balogh, managing director of Interton Group. “At the same time we had to preserve and show the traditions and history of Hungarian music.”

Balogh cites a Gustav Mahler quote: “Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” It neatly encapsulates how Interton Group has managed to sensitively explore history using new digital and interactive approaches with AV playing a central role.

Visitors are guided through the exhibition with an Usomo headphone system that includes wireless headphones and an indoor localisation unit that can determine the location and even direction that a visitor is standing and facing. A master clock system is used so the triggers and visual content are perfectly synchronised.

Near the beginning of the permanent exhibition is the Forest. A videowall, created by five Epson projectors, shows a forest scene. It surrounds five drums that are themselves surrounding a fire created by projecting onto physical logs. Projectors and sensors were connected to the central control system powered by a QSC Core processor. If visitors start to drum louder the fire increases and forest scene starts to change. The final scene shows masks on the screen that tell the Hungarian legend of the Magic Deer.

In another exhibition that explores church music, two large codexes filled with sheet music for different songs are placed on a table. Interton Group used NFC sensors to enable the automated system to know which page a visitor is looking at.

“If you turn a page, it goes to a new song and projected content shows you where you are in the song you are listening to. Through the Usomo headphones you also hear the song playing,” explains Balogh.

A final highlight of the exhibition is a table surrounded by four chairs that are each associated to one of the instruments in a string quartet. If a guest sits down their headset will play their part from the quartet and a lamp above the chair simultaneously switches on. The more chairs are taken, the more parts play, and if four people participate they hear the full string quartet.

The sound dome, located next to the exhibition, is unique on the world stage and one of the focal points of the House of Hungarian Music. It was originally planned as an audio experience, but projection was introduced to provide a fully immersive AV experience.

It’s attracted audio-visual artists and musicians who have brought creativity to performances in this unique space which can accommodate up to 50 people.

The immersive sound system is delivered through 27 d&b audiotechnik point source loudspeakers and 4 subwoofers. The speakers are driven individually on a separate bus by input computers and associated software via d&b audiotechnik amplifiers with built-in DSP.  Merging Technologies Pyramix digital audio workstation, an RME bidirectional 64-channel MADI/AES format convertor and Trinnov digital sound processor complete the audio system.

Delivering 360-degree visuals, the Sony projectors are fed by an AV Stumpfl media server and Interton Group provided a Tascam professional Blu-Ray player.

“Technically, the dome was the biggest challenge for us,” says Balogh. “The addition of projection meant we had to deliver good picture quality but with a screen that was acoustically transparent. We purchased several samples for different kinds of screens and tested them for visual and acoustical properties. The installation of the half-hemisphere screen was also difficult.”


Playing to the crowd               

The event hall at the House of Hungarian Music is a light filled space surrounded by trees that are viewed through two walls of floor-to-ceiling, edge-to-edge glass. A ceiling of gold star shapes and organic forms sit above the rows of movable seats on a tiered floor, and edged by further balcony seating. 


Acoustics in the event hall were handled by Japanese consultant Nagata Acoustics that has an impressive portfolio of work including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Elbphilharmonie theatre in Hamburg.

It was a tricky space to work in. “Two walls out of the four are made entirely from glass,” says Balogh. “So we were curious to know how the room acoustics would sound like based on the Nagata Acoustics simulations. The results were outstanding.”

To deliver the speech intelligibility required, Interton Group had to make the case for a line array system that wasn’t what the architect had originally planned.

“In order to provide speech intelligibility in this reverberant environment we had to use special high directivity loudspeakers,” says Balogh. “Eventually the need for this system was accepted and we integrated it in a way that was not too obtrusive. So interior architecture and the AV requirement were both met in the end.”

Interton Group turned to d&b audiotechnik for the system, installing a mixture of Yi8 and Yi12 line array and Yi subwoofers as well as point source speakers, D80 and D30 amplifiers, and an audio network bridge. JBL active stage monitors were provided and can be moved for use in other locations including the outdoor stage. Genelec 8020D and 8030 CP studio monitors are provided for the technicians.

Yamaha was selected for audio mixing and routing with a CL3 digital mixing console chosen for FOH, a CL1 monitor mixer and a digital I/O frame installed. The main microphone system was handled by Shure and includes wired and wireless options. Interton Group also turned to Sennheiser, Shure and DPA to meet the needs of instrument mic’ing.

Barco projection and a Projecta motorised screen were installed for the main visual system and Samsung displays are used as monitors by a video technician and interpreter in the event hall, and also provided as a confidence monitor for the speaker. Technicians can also view live video of the event hall and lecture hall via the CATV network on Samsung displays. A Blackmagic Design Smart Videohub 40x40 video matrix and Roland video mixers were also installed along with Sony PZ controller and IP PTZ cameras.

Stage lighting was handled by an MA Lighting console, ETC Four 750 fixtures, spotlights and Clay Paky Axcor 400 Profile, K20 B-Eye and B-Eye K25 Teatro moving lights.

Rigging came with challenges. “We had to be very careful how we installed supporting structures because it’s a beautiful interior. It was hard to find rigging points that fitted the concept of the architect so the speakers, projection screen and stage lighting fit best into the environment. It was hard but we found the right positions in the end.”

The event hall may feel like it’s in nature, but the House of Hungarian music also includes an outdoor stage that really is. Interton Group again turned to d&b audiotechnik for this space, opting for Vi7P and Vi-Sub loudspeakers, driven by D80 amps. A Yamaha QL1 digital mixing console and RIO 1608-d2 I/O frame was delivered for mixing and signal routing and Shure microphones are used by speakers and performers.

The venue had a requirement for broadcast as well. Interton Group met this need with a Blackmagic Design SDI matrix, Sony PTZ controller, and Epiphan 4K streaming encoder.


Watch and learn

The House of Hungarian Music also supports learning, conferences and other events. To meet these needs, another d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker system comprising Yi7P loudspeakers and 30D amplifiers is installed in a lecture hall. Genelec 8020D and 8030 CP studio monitors were installed for the technicians and a Yamaha CL1 digital mixing console was installed. Shure microphones were provided and the space also includes a Tascam professional music player.

The hall’s lighting system uses an MA Lighting light console and ETC Four 750 fixtures. Projection is delivered with a Barco unit firing onto a Projecta motorised projection screen. Samsung LCD displays were installed for monitoring purposes. Sony PTZ cameras and PTZ controller capture proceedings in the hall, while a Blackmagic Design Smart Videohub 40x40 video matrix was installed alongside a Roland video mixer. Blackmagic Design web presenter handles streaming of events from the hall.

Within the smaller education spaces, Interton Group has integrated technology to support lectures, meetings and collaboration. A mixture of Samsung 55-in and 65-in displays and Sharp 70-in and 86-in interactive displays were installed.

Mersive wireless presentation system, Angekis USB VC soundbar and a Biamp mobile conference hub were also provided for effective communication both within and outside the venue.

Sources in these spaces include Tascam Blu-Ray player and professional music player. TOA loudspeakers are also used and amplification is handled by a mix of Denon and QSC kit.

An SVS 5.1 sound system was installed in a small room of the library and used to view audiovisual publications selected for rental. An Audio-Technica vinyl player was provided for listeners to test vinyl records before renting them. QSC processing was chosen for the comprehensive control, audio and video distribution system that runs through the entire building. It serves various areas including the library, educational room, meeting areas, VIP lounge, restaurant and cafeteria, allowing each space to use centrally distributed audio and video content.

A mixture of Genelec studio monitors, TOA loudspeakers and QSC amplifiers deliver audio throughout. A Denon professional player was also provided as part of the central system and some of the spaces include Ampetronic hearing loop systems.

Interton Group installed a central Narval Acoustics paging, intercom and background music system while local sources, such as portable music players, can be connected to serve local areas.

In the case of emergency, the central system overrides local sources. Several control options are provided including tablets, wall-mounted touchscreens and switches, allowing users to choose which source they listen to as well as adjust the volume of those sources.

Since opening in January 2022, more than 400,000 visitors have passed through the doors of the House of Hungarian Music. The range of performances has been wide with jazz, pop, electronic and classical music already filling up a busy concert schedule. The destination is firmly on the map as a cultural hub welcoming both Hungarian and international artists.

A strong musical showing and stellar technology integration combine with the venue’s location and its physical design to deliver a blend of music and nature that is powerful. “You don’t even realise you’ve entered the building from the park because it has these huge glass surfaces,” says Balogh. “When you are in the building you still feel like you are in the forest, you’re in nature and that’s a very good feeling.”


Tech Spec 


Ampetronic hearing loops
Angekis USB VC soundbar
Audio-Technica vinyl player
Biamp mobile conference hub
Buttkicker haptic transducers
d&b audiotechnik Y-series line arrays, V-series point source speakers, D-series amplifiers and audio network bridge
ddrum triggers
Denon professional players, DJ console and amplifier
DPA instrument microphones
Genelec 8020D 8030 CP studio monitors
JBL active stage monitors
Listen Technologies digital IP server
Merging Technologies Pyramix workstation
Narval Acoustics sound matrix, BGM sound driver module, communication stations, intercom system, operator control panels and 16x16 intercom matrix
NTi measurement microphone
QSC amplifiers and I/O Flex
RME bidirectional 64-Channel MADI/AES format converter
Rosendahl multi-standard sync generator
Sennheiser instrument microphones
Shure microphones and wireless microphone system
Steinberg synchronisation unit
SVS 5.1 sound system
Tascam professional music player
TOA loudspeakers
Trinnov digital sound processor
Yamaha CL and QL series mixing consoles, digital I/O frame



Microsoft Kinect
Nexmosphere Flight sensors
QSC Core processors 



AV Stumpfl media server
Barco projectors
Blackmagic Design Smart Videohub 40x40 video matrixes, SDI matrix and web presenter
Brightsign digital signage players
Decimator SDI-HDMI cross converter
Epiphan 4K streaming encoder
Epson projectors
Korg Kaoss Pad
LG displays
Magnimage 4K video mosaic box
Mersive wireless presentation system
Projecta motorised projection screens
Roland video mixers and Dante interfaces
Samsung 55-in and 65-in displays and monitors
Sharp 70-in and 86-in interactive displays
Sony projectors, displays, PTZ controllers and PTZ cameras
Tascam Blu-ray player



Clay Paky moving lights
ETC Four 750 fixtures
Luminex ArtNet-DMX converter
MA Lighting light consoles
PLS DMX splitter

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