The Budapest Festival Orchestra and its conductor, Ivan Fischer, gave two of the freshest, least conventional Beethoven performances of the season at Lincoln Center this week. Music students unexpectedly rushed the stage to join them in a soaring section of the Fifth Symphony, and incognito choristers popped up among the audience members to sing the Ninth’s “Ode to Joy.” Michael Cooper, New York Times.
But the high-energy concerts — part of a five-city American tour that concludes on Sunday in Boston — were briefly thrown into doubt by President Trump’s chaotically instituted travel ban. As the orchestra prepared to leave Hungary last week, it was informed that one of its cellists, a longtime Hungarian citizen, would not be allowed to enter the United States because he also held citizenship in Iraq, one of the seven predominantly Muslim countries named in the ban.
Mr. Fischer — who has become known as a voice for tolerance and inclusion as his native Hungary has embraced nationalist and staunchly anti-immigrant policies under the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban — suddenly found himself having to make the case for openness to United States officials, whom he called to protest.
“It struck a nerve in me, a very strong feeling that I will never allow anybody to single out a musician in my orchestra and disadvantage that person because of their origin, skin color, religion or any other factor,” Mr. Fischer said in an interview at his hotel on Tuesday.