Christmas Surprise Concert
About the program
“People always want to eat food with which they are familiar. The great majority is afraid of anything new. We must find a way to overcome that fear.” (Iván Fischer)
Twelve years ago, Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra came up with a new form of concert – the details of their Surprise Concerts are a closely guarded secret, where the audience only learns what they will see and hear during the concert. The Surprise Concerts were a huge success from the off; the key factor being the absolute trust which a great many people had in Iván Fischer, the director and conductor of the events. They were ready to join this adventure even without knowing what would be performed and by whom.
At one surprise concert, during Stravinsky’s Tango, two members of the orchestra laid down their instruments and took to the floor, giving a tango performance which would have put even the most seasoned of professional Argentinian dancers to shame. That same night, as Iván Fischer was conducting Ravel’s Boléro, a ballerina emerged from behind the timpani to tie herself to the conductor, making the performance a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As the orchestra celebrated its 30th anniversary, the Surprise Concert became a ‘request concert’, with the audience selecting the elements of the programme from an extensive ‘menu’. In 2014, a part of the programme was also based on requests, and that time the audience chose Bach’s Air and a Slavonic dance by Dvořák.
Naturally, the programme of the 2015 Surprise concert is a secret. It will come as no surprise, however, to learn that the concert is going to be held in the hall with which the Festival Orchestra’s history is most tightly interwoven, the one from where the orchestra began its journey on Christmas Day in 1983 – The Grand Hall of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music.
The Festival Orchestra’s greatest merit is that surprise and miracles are not limited to Surprise concerts. As a member of the audience, Tamás Barta said “every time Mr. Fischer reveals new secrets about the capabilities of the orchestra, and that is the real miracle.”