Budapest Festival Orchestra
News April 16, 2013


Czech music culture will be in the spotlight of events from 11 to 19 September (

The Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO) celebrating its 30th anniversary is to launch the new 2013/14 season with a multi-genre festival entitled Bridging Europe. The events from 11 to 19 September will focus on Czech music culture, in particular the works of Antonín Dvorák. The Bridging Europe festival replacing the Mahler Festival as well as the annual music marathon are joint events organised based on a strategic partnership with the Palace of Arts – as revealed at a BFO press conference on Monday.

Music director Iván Fischer highlighted that the BFO’s programme for next year will range from Dvorák to Dvorák, as the season will end in May 2014 with an opera of the Czech composer that has not been heard in Budapest for a long time, Rusalka, which will be performed twice. “We are preparing for the next 30 years. We started thinking: what can an orchestra do? It can play beautiful music, but has more to offer, as it can speak a language that is truly international. It is able to bridge the gap between peoples and cultures speaking different languages, helping people not to see others as enemies. This is what led to “Bridging Europe” – said Iván Fischer. Every year the spotlight will be trained on a country, and this year the Czech Republic has been chosen, as while there is a rich wealth of Czech Baroque and contemporary music, it is not very well known in Hungary – said Iván Fischer, explaining the decision.

Csaba Káel, managing director of the Palace of Arts, emphasised that they would be contributing the Bridging Europe festival with jazz and world music. Stefan Englert, BFO Director, talked about the programme for the coming season and said that the orchestra would give four concerts in November led by their first guest conductor, Gábor Takács-Nagy, at the Academy of Music which will be completed by then. The soloist will be the world-famous pianist Martha Argerich, who will play Liszt pieces in keeping with the spirit of the venue. Leonidas Kavakos will be there too, not just as a violinist but also as a conductor for the BFO, while Pinchas Zukerman will also appear as a conductor.

Iván Fischer’s composition talents were put on show last year in Amsterdam and Bruges, and he will be debuting as a composer in Budapest during the BFO’s series of contemporary music concerts; the international programme will be supplemented with a chamber opera to be completed this summer. A small company within the orchestra will take to the stage to perform pieces of early music, led by Nicholas McGegan and Jos van Immerseel. The BFO’s anniversary concert will take place on 26 December 2013 in the Budapest Congress Centre. Iván Fischer promises a surprise programme that evening, but it is likely we will hear some pieces which were played at the first concert in 1983. Orsolya Erdődy, deputy director, spoke about the youth concerts, saying that alongside the BFO Comes Knocking series the number of partner schools who want to participate in the Taste of Musical Instruments events and concert rehearsals is growing. The film competition is popular, and this year video contributions were requested on Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4; the results will be announced on Friday. And of course, we cannot forget the Cocoa Concerts either, which are continuing.

The BFO will be heading out on many tours as well: they are to play as a resident orchestra in Dortmund, Bruges and New York’s Lincoln Center, which means concerts over several days, with one of the main performances being at the Mostly, Mozart! Festival, where they will perform the Marriage of Figaro. In terms of funding, Iván Fischer said that thanks to the HUF 500 million grant recently received from the Ministry of Human Resources the orchestra can work on a solid foundation, and they would very much like these financial conditions to remain in the future.