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One week, 19 concerts, 14 towns, thousands of people. Following its community week in June, the Budapest Festival Orchestra again intends to give free concerts all around the country, taking music to people who rarely get to concert halls or have never been to a classical music concert.

“Why do community programmes matter? Because we are a community orchestra.” (Iván Fischer)

The musicians of the Budapest Festival Orchestra set out once again between 10 and 16 November to continue their mission and take classical music to people who do not have the opportunity to go to a classical music concert for financial, social or health reasons. The BFO would like to give community concerts in as many venues outside Budapest as possible to enable local people to enjoy the magic of live music as well. This time the Festival Orchestra will give free concerts in ten nursing homes, three SOS children’s villages, three synagogues and three churches during its community week.

As a new highlight of the BFO community week, Cocoa Concerts will also be held in three Hungarian SOS children’s villages, in Battonya, Kőszeg and Kecskemét, for underprivileged children fostered without their biological parents. The mission of the SOS children’s villages is to provide shelter and give love to every foster child, and the Festival Orchestra wishes to contribute to this through music.

Music cures and reenergises people, which is particularly true for the elderly, and consequently the BFO’s chamber ensembles will play music in not five but ten elderly homes in November, from Budapest to Miskolc. Béla Nemes, a 90-year-old resident of the Old People’s Home of Veresegyház City Council, wrote about his experiences in June as follows: “I remember you as those who gave us a taste of the eternally wonderful Renaissance music. These melodies carry crystal clear music within them.”

After the three venues in the summer, the Festival Orchestra will visit three more abandoned synagogues: the synagogue concerts will be held in Szekszárd, Szolnok and Kisvárda. Countless synagogues became desolated in Hungary after the Holocaust. The aim is to draw attention to Jewish heritage and familiarise local communities with the tolerance that was once prevalent throughout Hungary. At our synagogue concerts, Slomó Köves, head of the Unified Hungarian Israelite Community, will present the history of local Jewish communities and synagogues, and after the concert audiences will be invited to taste a Jewish delicacy.

The fourth pillar of our community week is church performances, during which the Festival Orchestra’s Baroque ensemble provides insight into the unique world of Bach’s music. Ecclesiastical music will be played on period instruments in an authentic environment in the Reformed Church of Leányfalu, the Evangelical Church of Buda Castle and the Catholic Church of Zsámbék.