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Budapest Festival Orchestra PDF Print E-mail

BFOIn less than thirty years the Budapest Festival Orchestra, founded in 1983 by Iván Fischer and Zoltán Kocsis, has established itself as one of the ten leading orchestras of the world. Although the BFO regularly appears in the world’s most important music venues, the orchestra’s activities are based around a highly popular series of concerts in Hungary with more than forty orchestral performances in Budapest and regular visits to other Hungarian towns and cities.
The BFO is the strategic partner of the Palace of Arts in Budapest; together they organize the Budapest Mahlerfest (launched by Iván Fischer in 2005) every September, the single-composer “marathon” with eleven concerts every February, and a staged opera production directed and conducted by Iván Fischer. The latest opera production, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, was enthusiastically received at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York.
Music director Iván Fischer has introduced a number of innovations. Besides the orchestral concerts and a chamber-music series the orchestra hosts a baroque ensemble playing on original instruments, and a contemporary ensemble performing new music. Orchestra members chosen in the biannual Sándor Végh competition perform concertos as soloists in the Haydn-Mozart Plus concerts conducted by the BFO’s new Principal Guest Conductor, Gábor Takács-Nagy.
The BFO lays a strong emphasis on educational activities. The very successful Cocoa Concerts are designed for small children, while the Midnight concerts attract older teenagers and those in their early twenties. The BFO collaborates with the network of Hungarian Music Schools in regular talent searches, and streams its orchestra rehearsals on the internet for educational purposes.
Numerous outstanding artists like Sir Georg Solti (the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor until his death), Yehudi Menuhin, Pinchas Zukerman, Gidon Kremer, Radu Lupu, Sándor Végh, András Schiff and Richard Goode have all performed with the BFO in recent decades.
The BFO was set up as an independent foundation in 1992. Its activities are supported by the Hungarian Ministry of National Resources and the Budapest City Council. Iván Fischer has been the orchestra’s Music Director throughout the 29 years since it was founded.