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This new series of the BFO in the Millenáris Theatre gets off to a fantastic start with one piece of work each from three outstanding contemporary musicians, Péter Eötvös, Steve Reich and György Ligeti.

One piece in the programme, György Ligeti’s Piano Concerto, will also be played a little later at the BFO’s Midnight Concert aimed at young people, played by Zoltán Fejérvári after two baroque performances.

“I don’t think there are any musicians in the world who would play Ligeti’s Piano Concerto from the 1980s twice in such a short time” – said Zoltán Rácz, conductor for the evening, to the Hungarian news agency MTI.

The work premiered in Vienna in 1988.

“The Budapest Festival Orchestra decided to create a contemporary music ensemble within the BFO, similar to the group established last year that specialises in early music. I was asked to perform at the opening concert by Iván Fischer” – said Zoltán Rácz.

They have put together three different programmes. Iván Fischer’s only request was that the performance shouldn’t only contain works from the 1960s and 1970s, but also some more modern pieces.

“I thought that I would take Eötvös’ Octet and Reich’s Double Sextet – both written in 2008 – and pair them with a piece written thirty years ago as a point of reference, which is why I chose György Ligeti’s Piano Concerto. Eötvös wrote his octet in memory of Karlheinz Stockhausen” – added Zoltán Rácz.

A founding member of the Amadinda Percussion Group, he recalled how Steve Reich composed his Double Sextet at the request of a Chicago orchestra. He received a Pulitzer Award in 2009 for this work, written for two identical sextets of instruments (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, vibraphone and piano). The composition of the instruments is really interesting, commented Zoltán Rácz, it can be performed by six musicians playing against a recording of themselves.

At the Millenáris it will be played by twelve musicians, which Reich believes is livelier. The ensemble version will be performed of Ligeti’s Piano Concerto.