Budapest Festival Orchestra
Press Releases September 06, 2016


Eternal but in constant flux, French culture will take the spotlight from 21 to 28 September at this year’s Bridging Europe festival, a joint production by the Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO) and Müpa Budapest. The programme series, which ranges from French baroque through lighter genres to contemporary music, will feature Academy Award winner Michel Legrand and the jazz violin virtuoso Jean-Luc Ponty. This year’s Bridging Europe festival will include musical curiosities, international stars, an evening of literary performance, dancing, and a folk tale play.

For this year’s traditional season-opening festival, Bridging Europe, Müpa Budapest and the Budapest Festival Orchestra will be bringing something of France to the stage between 21 and 28 September. The programme seeks to uncover that which is characteristic of modern French culture, and to demonstrate how certain external artistic influences have made their way through that particularly French filter.

Iván Fischer and the Festival Orchestra will be bringing us the bohemian world of Montmartre, through works by Ravel, Debussy, the outrageous but beloved eccentric Eric Satie, and the modern lyricist Henri Dutilleux. The BFO’s early music ensemble is long established, and they will be playing period instruments to some real baroque curiosities, including amusing virtuoso arias and dance rhythms, under the baton of Hervé Niquet, who will be encouraging the orchestra to maintain its experimental spirit. Our contemporary concert will reveal the sound of a real rarity, the contrabass clarinet, as well as asking whether tissue paper makes a good musical instrument, or how you can create the sound of a lion’s roar on stage.

The festival will feature such legendary French artistic figures as the Academy Award winner Michel Legrand and the jazz violin virtuoso Jean-Luc Ponty. They are connected by Joseph Cosma (born József Kozma), whose oeuvre influenced them both. It is not just coincidence that the evergreen Les Feuilles is on the repertoire of both artists.

During the festival there will be exhibitions in the lobby of Müpa Budapest and in the Flag Room, featuring Lucien Hervé’s photographs and Toulouse-Lautrec’s lithographs. There’s a Hungarian connection here too, as the photographer who became world famous as Lucien Hervé was born László Elkán in the Hungarian city of Hódmezővásárhely.

The exhibitions [HH1] provide a great backdrop to the festival atmosphere that will overtake Müpa Budapest at the end of September and which will, besides the various concerts, also host dance and musical programmes, and a French-Hungarian literary performance evening. The latter will explore the literary connections between the two countries, modernity, avant-garde and experimental art. Visuals, gestures and sound will all play major roles.

The Krisztián Gergye Company will be conjuring up the hustle and bustle of turn-of-the-century Paris in a multi-art performance. Singers, musicians, puppeteers and dancers will bring the artistic world of Montmartre to life, in a ‘cabaret grotesque’ similar in atmosphere to the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec. The Soldier’s Tale is based on a Russian folk story; this collaboration between the poet Ramuz and the composer Stravinsky resulted in a performance with music, prose, and dance. It’s not just the carefully-crafted lyrics, which occasionally bubble with bizarre humour, but also their distinctive style which they call ‘muzouche’ that defines the Breton band La Gâpette as they bring together quite distinct musical worlds. The colourful ensemble of five musicians uses some 15 instruments to play their curiously-varied music. Parno Graszt & Latcho Drom, the Paris Combo, the Tamara Mózes Trio and the Les Alouettes Ensemble will be giving us free dancing and music in the lobby of Müpa Budapest.

You can find more details about the programme and ticket sales on the websites of Müpa Budapest and the BFO:


A joint production by the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Müpa Budapest, the Bridging Europe festival brings a special flavour to the opening of each season.
 The driving force and inspiration for the series has always been a specific country with a rich, colourful and significant cultural heritage. In the autumn of 2013 it was the Czechs; in 2014, German melodies took centre stage; in 2015 we got closer to our Austrian neighbours. This year, we are giving the spotlight to the cultural fineries of France. The organisers are convinced that trust and fellowship among the nations of Europe are sorely needed, and that art is a perfect means to encourage them.