Since January 2020, Orsolya Erdődy has been Managing Director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, widely regarded as one of the best orchestras in the world. It is a remarkable achievement that the respected British publication, Gramophone Magazine, named the BFO Orchestra of the Year in its 2022 audience awards. That year Orsolya was 6th on Forbes' list of the Most Influential Hungarian Women in Culture; in 2023, she came 4th.
Under her leadership, the orchestra switched to online and alternative operations during the pandemic. The hundreds of serenade concerts performed in the courtyards of apartment buildings, online quarantine concerts, and live-streamed performances allowed the ensemble to maintain an active link with audiences, while helping to make the BFO one of the 10 best orchestras in the world, according to BBC Classics. It was also during her leadership that the musicians became employees of the orchestra.
She has worked with the BFO since 2011 and was Deputy Managing Director for 8 years prior to her MD appointment. Her primary responsibilities included government relations, music education programs, and community projects.
Ms. Erdődy had worked as the organizer of several international cultural projects: the Hungarian Cultural Season in Germany (“Ungarischer Akzent”), 2006-2007; musical seasons the Haydn Year 2009, the Erkel-Mahler Year 2010 and the Liszt Year 2011. A founder of the KLASSZ Music Office, she worked as its director between 2008 and 2011. Between 2009 and 2017, she held a variety of positions with cultural organizations: Choral Director of the Saint Ephraim Male Choir; Secretary General of the International Liszt Society; President of the Hungarian Association of the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra.
Orsolya witnessed the workings of diplomacy and, more specifically, cultural diplomacy, as a child: her father, Gábor Erdődy, is a former Hungarian ambassador to the Vatican and Bonn; her mother, Csilla E. Csorba is an art historian, museologist, and a former General Director of the Petőfi Museum of Literature. Orsolya was exposed to the power of culture to support political and economic ties at an early age. She finds it important to train female music managers and ensure their professional development. Dedicated, professional female managers form a majority among her staff.
Following her high school years in Bonn, Germany, she continued her studies in the Faculty of Arts at ELTE University, Budapest. She obtained degrees in German Language and Literature, and Political Theory. She completed a program in cultural management at the Cultural Management Institute of the Hungarian University of Applied Arts. In addition to Bonn, she has studied abroad in Saarbrücken, Marbach, and Rome.
She is a regular lecturer at a number of institutes of higher education in Hungary (Péter Pázmány Catholic University, Andrássy Universität Budapest, Werk Academy). She has a keen interest in interior design and Hungarian design, especially jewelry, and in her free time she enjoys reading, watching movies, traveling, and hiking.