The Budapest Festival Orchestra is one of the Hungarian music scene’s major success stories, being rated among the world’s top ten orchestras. The New York Times even went as far as to say they “might be the best orchestra in the world”.
One of the secrets of our success lies in the way Iván Fischer and his musicians are constantly on the lookout for new paths; we never stick to one method, era, composer or approach. Beyond the resoundingly energetic and uniquely refined musical expression, reminiscent of chamber music, it is our innovative concerts that appeal to those open to music.
Our innovative concerts include Dancing on the Square, one of the orchestra’s priority projects, which is as much about communal creativity, tolerance and equal opportunities as it is about music and dance. The Autism-friendly Cocoa Concerts are another of our major initiatives, providing a safe environment for children living with autism and their families alike.
The Festival Orchestra is driven by an openness towards the new and the unknown, by curiosity and attention to detail. It is that same experimental spirit and passion that has taken the BFO to both the world’s most important music venues and to the furthest-flung villages in Hungary.
Our orchestra has won two Gramophone Awards, the ‘Oscars of classical music’, and has also been nominated for a Grammy. International concerts and successes aside, our driving mission is to serve our home audience. Music aficionados have over seventy chances to meet us every season, be it in concert halls or at our rehearsal hall. What is more, we are making ever more frequent appearances at alternative venues – in nursing homes, abandoned synagogues, hospitals, child care institutions, prisons and schools – where we can create an intimate connection with the audience.
Through our community and musical education programmes, we continuously strive to bring the beauty of classical music to every age group and stratum of society. We connect people, helping to build and strengthen communities with the power and beauty of music.
Iván Fischer is the founder and Music Director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, as well as the Music Director of the Konzerthaus and Konzerthausorchester Berlin. In recent years he has also gained a reputation as a composer, with his works being performed in the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary, Germany and Austria. What is more, he has directed a number of successful opera productions.
The BFO’s frequent worldwide tours and a series of critically acclaimed and fast selling records, released first by Philips Classics and later by Channel Classics, have contributed to Iván Fischer’s reputation as one of the world’s most high-profile music directors.
Fischer has guest-conducted the Berlin Philharmonic more than ten times; every year he spends two weeks with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; and as a conductor, he is also a frequent guest of the leading US symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra.
As Music Director, he has led the Kent Opera and the Opéra National de Lyon, and was Principal Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC. Many of his recordings have been awarded prestigious international prizes.
He studied piano, violin, and later the cello and composition in Budapest, before continuing his education in Vienna where he studied Conducting under Hans Swarowsky.
Iván Fischer is a founder of the Hungarian Mahler Society and Patron of the British Kodály Academy. He has received the Golden Medal Award from the President of the Republic of Hungary, and the Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum for his services in promoting international cultural relations. The government of the French Republic made him Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2006 he was honoured with the Kossuth Prize, Hungary’s most prestigious arts award. In 2011 he received the Royal Philharmonic Society
Music Award, Hungary’s Prima Primissima Prize and the Dutch Ovatie Prize. In 2013 he was accorded Honorary Membership to the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 2015 he was presented with the Abu Dhabi Festival Award.