The Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO) has learned that it will only receive HUF 200 million in additional grant from the Hungarian government designed to replace the discontinued corporate tax grant, which accounts for less than 50% of the average corporate tax subsidy the orchestra was granted in previous years.
Having planned its next seasons in reliance on this compensation and based on the average of the previous years, the BFO is now obliged to cancel several projects to be able to maintain stable operation. The main consideration for selecting events to be cancelled was the possibility of late cancellation.
As a result, new opera productions, a four-year-long collaboration with the Geneva opera house, and a tour of the Baltic states will not take place from next year. Some of the orchestra’s community outreach and educational programs in Hungary such as the "Choose your Instrument" in schools, the "See What You Hear!" film competition for high school students, the BFO Reaches Out! project, church concerts, chamber music concerts at elderly homes and "Music Castle" concerts for underprivileged children will also be discontinued.
In the absence of stable and predictable financial background, Martin Hoffmann, the Budapest Festival Orchestra’s managing director, has resigned and the Board of Directors is searching for a replacement. The BFO staff is also forced to make staff cuts.
All over the world, the Budapest Festival Orchestra is regarded as the pride and the most successful cultural ensemble of Hungary, a unique ambassador of the country’s culture and reputation. The BFO hopes that the restoration of its grants on previous years’ level will facilitate the continuation of the programs suspended as of January 2020, in particular the hugely popular outreach and youth programs.