Iván Fischer made his own dream come true when he founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra in 1983 together with Zoltán Kocsis.
Thanks to its innovative approach to music and the uncompromising dedication of its musicians, the BFO has become the youngest ensemble to join the world’s top ten symphony orchestras. In addition to Budapest, the orchestra regularly performs in some of the most important concert venues of the international music scene and is also present on international streaming platforms. Since its inception, the BFO has been recognized by Gramophone, the prestigious British musical periodical, three times: in 1998 and 2007, the magazine’s professional panel of judges awarded the BFO the prize for the best recording, while in 2022, thanks to audience votes, it was named Orchestra of the Year. The BFO’s most considerable successes are connected to Mahler: their recording of Symphony No. 1 was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2013.
As well as recording successes and acclaimed tours, the BFO has also made a name for itself internationally with its series of innovative concerts. The Autism-friendly Cocoa Concerts, the Surprise Concerts – appreciated also at the Proms in London –, full-day musical marathons, informal Midnight Music performances geared towards young adults, outdoor concerts in Budapest, free Community Weeks and the Bridging Europe Festival, co-organized with Müpa Budapest, are all unique in their own ways. Another special feature of the orchestra is that its members regularly form a choir at their concerts.
Each year, the BFO, in collaboration with the Iván Fischer Opera Company, Müpa Budapest, the Vicenza Opera Festival and the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, also stages an opera production. The performances have been invited to the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York, the Edinburgh International Festival and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg; in 2013, the Marriage of Figaro led the New York Magazine’s list of the best classical music events of the year. The Vicenza Opera Festival, founded by Iván Fischer, debuted in the fall of 2018 at the Teatro Olimpico.
The financial stability of the BFO is guaranteed by the Hungarian Government and the Municipality of Budapest.