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BFZ@Stiller Ákos

Are you curious how the 73-year-old world-class pianist Richard Goode plays Beethoven? Would you listen to a real Russian programme conducted by Dmitri Kitayenko? Are you interested in what the Estonian genius, Paavo Järvi does on the stage? Or would you rather spend an evening with the legendary Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos? You can do all that and more in the new, 2016/17 season of the Budapest Festival Orchestra. The BFO's Music Director, Iván Fischer will be conducting Ravel, Debussy, Dutilleux, Bartók, Schubert, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Mahler, Liszt and Strauss, and also launching a new series called Rising Stars, in which he provides an opportunity for young conductors to introduce themselves. Season tickets are available from 18 March.

The Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO) will open its 2016-2017 season, as usual, with the Bridging Europe festival, co-organised with Müpa Budapest. This September, the spotlight of the festival will be on French culture. What else, besides Piaf’s chansons and Amélie’s adventures, does this rich land have to offer? The programme which Iván Fischer has compiled will guide audiences through the bohemian world of the artists of Montmartre; we will encounter the impressionists Debussy and Ravel alongside the emotional and endearing eccentric Erik Satie; a journey to the second half of the twentieth century will take us to Henri Dutilleux, whose centenary was celebrated by the musical world in January 2016. On top of the usual orchestral symphonies, baroque and contemporary concerts, the audience will get some lighter bites too, with jazz and world music performances.

New Series

The BFO will be launching two new series in the upcoming season. The concert series Rising Stars gives three young and talented conductors, each of them special to the orchestra, the opportunity to introduce themselves to audiences. As Iván Fischer put it when describing the series: “We want to develop the next generation of performers, and naturally that includes conductors at the beginning of their careers. I vividly remember what it was like when I was similarly thrown in at the deep end a few decades ago. It was so helpful to see so many pairs of friendly, supportive eyes in the concert hall. Please give these new youngsters a smile.” The three conductors making their stage debuts will be Gergely Dubóczky and the Australian Vladimir Fanshil, both of whom have spent years working alongside Iván Fischer as assistant conductors, and Victor Aviat of France, who may be familiar to BFO audiences primarily in his role as an oboist.

The other new programme, Back to Nature, is a series of chamber music concerts performed in the orchestra’s rehearsal hall, where our musicians will play pieces by Bach, Vivaldi, Telemann, Brahms and Mozart on period instruments. Among the rare instruments on stage will be a Graf piano.

The Festival Orchestra’s Baroque Ensemble will be performing several concerts during the season: a real luminary of old music, Japanese-Bavarian violinist Midori Seiler will visit twice, performing an Italian and a German concert, while Hervé Niquet will join our musicians as artistic director and concert master for a performance of French baroque music.

Orchestral Concerts

Our full orchestral performances will feature the music of Shostakovich, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Liszt, Bartók, Mahler, Strauss, Wagner, Vivaldi and Berlioz. Their works will be interpreted by such world-renowned artists as Dmitri Kitayenko, who is returning with a concert of Russian music; 73-year-old Beethoven specialist Richard Goode; the legendary Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos; Paavo Järvi, the ambassador of Estonian music; Kossuth-Prize-winning cimbalom player Oszkár Ökrös; and the compelling young conductor Robin Ticciati, who made his début last year with a concert of French music.

What is more, Budapest will be hosting Ilan Volkov, who considers it his mission to revive pieces by long-forgotten composers; Croatia’s Radovan Vlatkovic, one of the world’s most extraordinary horn players; his fellow Croatian Dejan Lazic, who has already played with the BFO at the BBC Proms in London and who has given Budapest audiences a pleasant surprise when standing in for András Schiff; French cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton, whose sound is unique in its own right; as well as the returning Norwegian cello player Truls Mørk.

In this new season, Iván Fischer will be conducting the orchestra as they perform music by Ravel, Debussy, Dutilleux, Bartók, Schubert, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Mahler, Liszt and Strauss. This year, instead of our Surprise Concerts, Gábor Takács-Nagy will be conducting our Christmas Concerts at the Academy of Music.

After last year’s Mendelssohn-Schumann duo, this year’s Marathon will return to the work of a single composer; the cream of Hungary’s classical music crop will be focussing on Johannes Brahms for this day of music, co-organised with Müpa.

The upcoming season will once again include a busy touring schedule, which will see the BFO taking up residency at the San Sebastian Festival, a Far East tour with performances in China and Korea, and a major US tour with concerts in New York, Chicago and Boston.

Our revamped website contains information on our concerts, community activities and the missions of the orchestra.

Season tickets go on sale on 18 March (Friday).