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Budapest Festival Orchestra

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THE BUDAPEST FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA

The orchestra was formed in 1983 by Iván Fischer and Zoltán Kocsis, with musicians “drawn from the cream of Hungary’s younger players,” as TheTimes of London put it. Their aim, through intensive rehearsals and demanding the highest standards from musicians, was to make the orchestra’s initially three or four concerts per year significant events in Hungary’s musical life, and to give Budapest a new symphony orchestra of international standing.

Between 1992 and 2000, extending their work to a full season the ensemble operated under the aegis of the Budapest Municipality and the new BFO Foundation, formed by fifteen Hungarian and multinational corporations and banks. From the 2000/2001 season onwards the orchestra is operated by the BFO Foundation, which the Budapest City Council regularly supports under a contract renewable every five years. In 2003 the Ministry of Cultural Heritage declared the orchestra a national institution supported by the state.

The Festival Orchestra is nowadays not only a vital part of Budapest’s music life (usually performing to capacity audiences) but also a frequent and much appreciated guest at the world’s most important centres of musical excellence: Salzburg (Summer Festival), Vienna (Musikverein, Konzerthaus), Lucerne (Festival), Montreux, Zürich (Tonhalle), New York (Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall), Chicago, Los Angeles (Hollywood Bowl), San Francisco, Montreal, Tokyo (Suntory Hall)

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