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New paths in the life of the Budapest Festival Orchestra

For the Budapest Festival Orchestra, “music for all” is not an empty phrase, but a specific aim. The orchestra has recently organised a number of events where those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend the beautiful concerts of the Festival Orchestra in concert halls could also enjoy the magic of music. The “BFO Comes Knocking” series, for instance, has already been performed in several Hungarian cities, when the orchestra artists played music in the lobby of the post office in Pécs, or in a hospital maternity ward, followed by a nursing home and then in a juvenile prison, to mention but a few. In music schools, they even held impromptu mini master classes for children with an aptitude for instruments. One of the extremely successful highlights of the most recent – Asian – tour was that musicians brought music to people who have never had a similar experience in their life before. In Shanghai, they played music in an orphanage raising abandoned children, an old people’s home and a children’s hospital.

This successful event series has entered a new phase. The world-famous orchestra, in its thirtieth year, is treading new paths with the intention of nurturing an even closer and more open relationship with audiences. The BFO is organising concerts at venues where the presence of the artists enables community building events to take place. At the end of this year’s concert season, as a continuation of community programmes, the Budapest Festival Orchestra is planning to launch several kinds of nationwide tours.

Synagogues

The national tour to be organised with the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation will reach provincial synagogues. The aim here is to breathe life into the abandoned synagogues seventy years after the massacre of Jewish communities around Hungary. Locals are involved to revive the former local Jewish communities through their factual and spiritual remembrances.

Audiences at the synagogue concerts will be invited to enjoy pieces by Leo Weiner, Betty Olivero and Felix Mendelssohn, then Rabbi Slomó Köves’s review of history and a subsequent discussion before tasting some Jewish food.

16 June 2014 Mád Synagogue

17 June 2014 Keszthely Synagogue

18 June 2014 Albertirsa Synagogue

Nursing homes

Another type of BFO community programme is planned for nursing homes, enabling the elderly to experience wonderful and high-class performances on the spot. Maybe this new method can break down barriers with regard to attending concerts, and provide direct access to music for even the older, less mobile age groups.

Date and venue of nursing home programmes:

9 June 2014, Monday, 4pm Budapest, Békásmegyer Evangelical Centre

10 June 2014, Tuesday, 10.30am Budapest, District XI, Kamaraerdő Old People’s Home

10 June 2014, Tuesday, 2pm Budapest, Normafa Twilight Home

11 June 2014, Wednesday, 3pm Old People’s Home of Veresegyház City Council

12 June 2014, Thursday, 4pm Budapest, District XIV, Vezér út Old People’s Home

Churches

As part of the third type of BFO community programme, musicians visit Hungarian churches, where they primarily perform ecclesiastical music in an authentic environment to audiences who otherwise find it difficult to attend concerts.

During Performances in Churches – with so many impressive churches in Hungary – the BFO is keen to contribute to this extensive musical tradition and to return the works of Bach to the worthiest venues. Iván Fischer and the BFO have a long association with historical performances of early music. With the establishment of the BFO Baroque Ensemble it seems natural to initiate a project to perform Bach cantatas in churches using period instruments and techniques.

The programme of the Church concerts:

12 June, Thursday, 7pm Deák tér church

14 June, Saturday, 4pm Hedrehely church

15 June, Sunday, 7pm Bakáts tér church