Budapest Festival Orchestra
News February 28, 2018

BFO, the “smiling orchestra”

"Hearing the music of the BFO is like a cultural exchange. Each concert leaves me energised, and I become a better person" – says Surányiné Marek Judit, one of the important supporters of the BFO who has been a season ticket holder for 15 years now. Why does she have this special bond with the orchestra? Read her personal story to get closer to the answer!

It was in the 1980s that I first heard a radio interview with Ádám Fischer’s younger brother, undeservedly relegated to second place, about his plans at the time to found an orchestra. I remember hearing him talk about the primacy of musicality and the love of music as his criteria when selecting members of the ensemble. From that point on, I became interested in seeing the outcome. I sought out their concerts. I think it is as a result of this that they continue to be regarded as the smiling orchestra.

We have been season ticket holders for 15 years, and I can’t recall the same piece having been featured on the programme more than once (excuse me: fortunately for me, Zarathustra is actually an exception). Like many others, I would in the past go to concerts to hear familiar pieces, preferably performed in the same way that I had grown to like. The BFO has taught me to attend concerts with a sense of curiosity!

Perhaps because I am not a complete amateur, I can admit that I used to not like Mahler’s music, with all its question marks, quotation marks and commas. But in Iván Fischer’s reading, and with the BFO, I finally came to understand it!

Our season tickets are for seats on the balcony above the orchestra, which makes their performances that much more personal. Each time we see the musicians coming onstage, they are in good spirits, talking to one another. Zarathustra has been the only exception! The musicians all came in quietly. Then, deep in thought; Sándor Patkós played the first note, the other instruments joined one by one, and there in the concert hall that afternoon, the SUN TRULY ROSE!!!

What I can say in comparison is perhaps that I have never heard, in the case of other orchestras, the kind of fantastic pianissimo that I have with the BFO. Few other orchestras are able to seat members of the same pitch separately without the performance suffering as a result. The dinners kicking off and concluding each season are a great opportunity for us to hear the musicians individually, in small groups! It makes it clear how so many talented musicians are able to create something this fantastic together. The musicians “SIMPLY” enjoy making music.

Of course, it also takes Iván Fischer. He can still implement new ideas, and many of these are just as “outrageously” new as his selection of the musicians was more than 30 years ago. He is always able to tear down any wall of habit. I don’t know where he gets the energy for this – but I hope he will continue to find it, for a long time to come!

For me, this is what the synagogue concerts, etc. are about… And, perhaps most of all, the Midnight concerts. We do not currently have children of the right age in the family, but I know I would have visited the Choose Your Instrument programmes, and I know I will do so with my grandchildren!

After listening to so many of these concerts, each so amazing in its atmosphere, we finally decided to become supporters of the orchestra. When we heard that their funding from the state is dropping, we began to increase our contributions, though unfortunately not at the same rate as their reductions. We were outraged that this would happen to them: all governments talk about a country’s image, yet they have so far failed to understand that there is no better advertisement than this kind of highly skilled and committed, happy orchestra.

If you are the member of the BFO Patrons, you can buy season tickets for the 2018–19 season from 20 March on, instead of 9 April.

For further information about supporting the BFO, please click here.