Budapest Festival Orchestra
Formed over thirty years ago and considered one of the ten best orchestras in the world, the Budapest Festival Orchestra is a success story of Hungary’s musical life. One key to this success is musical director Iván Fischer, who was one of the founders along with Zoltán Kocsis. The unique arrangement in which the BFO works allows the individual artistic qualities of its musicians to culminate in a singularly consistent orchestral sound. Critics and audiences alike readily acknowledge its captivating performance style, which is marked by an attention to detail characteristic of chamber musicians, and the sheer energy with which the joy of making music together is conveyed. Over the decades, the Festival Orchestra has brought such world stars to the concert halls of Hungary as György Solti (who was the BFO’s first guest conductor until his death), Yehudi Menuhin, Pinchas Zukerman, Gidon Kremer, Radu Lupu, Sándor Végh, András Schiff and Richard Goode. The Orchestra performs in the world’s leading musical centres (including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, the Musikverein in Vienna, and the Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw), and it is a regular guest of prestigious international festivals. The Orchestra has also established its own festival in cooperation with its strategic partner, the Palace of Arts. “Bridging Europe” focuses on the culture of a different country each year. The BFO’s famed musical marathons, in turn, devote an entire day of concerts to a single composer. Also co-produced with the Palace of Arts are the staged concert performances of operas that Iván Fischer directs. Following highly successful stagings of Don Giovanni and Marriage of Figaro, next to come is The Magic Flute. The BFO also makes certain to play regularly to younger audiences. The youngest of children can enjoy the now traditional Cocoa Concerts. “Choose Your Instrument!” is for those aged 6–14, while older teenagers can enter a musical video competition. The concerts of the “Midnight Music” series, organized for young adults, have met with resounding success. This season sees the introduction of new community programmes, with free concerts around the country, in synagogues, churches and homes for the elderly. The BFO boasts an impressive list of acknowledgments. In 2008, internationally renowned music critics voted it the 9th best orchestra in the world, outdoing such prestigious ensembles as the New York or the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. New York Magazine named the BFO’s production of Marriage of Figaro the best of the Big Apple’s top ten classical music events of 2013. The orchestra’s albums have won the Gramophone Award, the musical “Oscar”, on two occasions, and its recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2013.