Budapest Festival Orchestra
Interviews June 15, 2016


Community work, the touring season, 200 concerts a year and some recreation – Magyar Narancs talked with Orsolya Erdődy, Deputy Executive Director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra.

rés a présen: You recently held your traditional Dancing on the Square project. How will it continue through the year?

Orsolya Erdődy: This year saw 500, double last year’s 250, mostly disadvantaged children taking part in the Dancing on the Square project. They came from far-flung parts of the country, such as Ózd, Berettyóújfalu, Edelény and Cserdi – in total 23 schools from 17 towns. One of the high points of the half-year initiative was the performance in Heroes’ Square, but our work with the children is not over. We would like to reinforce their self-respect, and to make them aware of what they experienced during the concert – that working towards a goal with a co-operative and industrious mindset can enable them to achieve their dreams more easily and successfully. If all goes according to plan, dance rehearsals for the 2017 project are due to begin in January 2017.

rap: Your next event is the Community Week. What is it about?

OE: It is about us visiting people in need, people hungry for music and culture, to share the beauty of music with those who would otherwise not be able to make it to concerts. For the inhabitants of a nursing home or the children at an SOS Children’s Village, the BFO’s arrival is a real celebration. Our musicians will be travelling a total of 5240 km (3256 miles) between 15 and 24 June, including to border towns such as Sellye, Tiszaszalka or Bódvaszilas. In Sellye, we have actually invited the entire Ormánság region to our church concert. In Pannonhalma, we are going to be performing as part of the St Martin Year, and we are also going to be playing in special, abandoned buildings such as the former synagogues of Bonyhád, Mátészalka or Kunszentmárton.

rap: The number of your community programmes is increasing. Why is that?

OE: The BFO is the community’s orchestra, and music connects different religions and cultures, generations, rich and poor. It may sound like a cliché, but that’s how we actually experience it. While our huge and devoted audience in Budapest mean Müpa can sell out three nights in a row, and we also have fan clubs internationally, the desire to meet young people, people in need, people from the countryside, grows ever stronger. We would like to pass on our enthusiasm for music. This is why we are continuously developing our community and youth programmes.

rap: What other BFO summer programmes should we know about?

OE: After giving over 200 performances a year, the orchestra deserves a summer break. That said, in August we are going on tour to San Sebastian, Santander, the Royal Albert Hall and Copenhagen, with a programme of Mozart, Mahler, Dvořák, Stravinsky and Bartók.

rap: Aside from the BFO’s programme, what other forms of culture interest you?

OE: I love vocal music, especially operas and songs, but my favourites are the Byzantine choral concerts of the St Ephraim Male Voice Choir. They provide me with both relaxation and recreation. Contemporary literature and fine arts are also part of my everyday life, and I can hardly wait for MNG’s Modigliani exhibition to open.

rap: What brought you to the BFO?

OE: At a lucky moment, Iván Fischer and the BFO’s board asked me to join. I had always admired the professional qualities of the Festival Orchestra; I was a regular at their concerts and I was awed by the world-famous soloists with whom they performed. But back in 2011 I organised the Liszt Year alongside the Klassz Office for Music.

The original article can be found here (in Hungarian).