Iván Fischer, Budapest Festival Orchestra Return to Carnegie Hall

Conductor Iván Fischer. Photo credit: Ákos Stiller

Conductor Iván Fischer. Photo credit: Ákos Stiller

The Budapest Festival Orchestra, under the direction of Iván Fischer, is returning to Carnegie Hall in April for two concerts featuring the music of Bartók paired with traditional Hungarian songs that includes a worldwide live broadcast for one of the performances.

On Friday, April 5, a pre-concert talk with Peter Laki, Visiting Associate Professor from Bard College, begins at 7pm. At 8pm the orchestra will perform the suite from The Miraculous Mandarin; Concerto for Orchestra; and selections from Twenty-Seven Two- and Three-Part Choruses featuring Hungary’s Cantemus Choir, under the direction of Choir Master Dénes Szabó.

The following evening, Saturday, April 6, the orchestra will return at 8pm for a live broadcast concert to be featured on WQXR 105.9 FM (New York) as part of the Carnegie Hall Live radio broadcast and digital series. If you are not in New York, you don’t have to miss out: select broadcasts can be accessed worldwide online.

“The Festival Orchestra does not simply perform Bartók; they live and breathe his music, and now invite audiences to join them for an entire evening of fantastic spiritual richness and deeply honest music.” — Channel Classics

The Saturday program will feature Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances alongside traditional Hungarian peasant songs, sung by Márta Sebestyén and musicians from the orchestra. The evening’s program will finish with Bartók’s one-act opera Bluebeard’s Castle featuring mezzo-soprano Ildikó Komlósi and bass Krisztián Cser.

“Iván Fischer, Márta Sebestyén, Ildikó Komlósi, Krisztián Cser and the likes make being Hungarian in a concert hall akin to being Meryl Streep at the Academy Awards gala. One simply gets used to doors opening, and the audience rising for a standing ovation,” wrote a member of the orchestra’s audience, after a 2017 performance in London.

Tickets for these concerts are priced at $30–$98, are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website.

About the Artists

Iván Fischer, Founder and Music Director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, has gained a recent reputation as a composer, with his works being performed in the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary, Germany, and Austria. He is also the the Honorary Conductor of the Konzerthaus and Konzerthausorchester Berlin.

The Orchestra frequently tours worldwide and has a series of records that have contributed to Iván Fischer’s reputation as one of the world’s most high-profile music directors. While the orchestra has enjoyed success and performances at some of the most important music venues in the world, their mission is to serve its home audience. BFO is focusing on creating intimate experiences and connections in alternative venues such as nursing homes, abandoned synagogues, hospitals, child care institutions, prisons and schools.

One of the orchestra’s priority projects is an innovative concert series titled Dancing on the Square, a series about music and dance combined with concepts of communal creativity, inclusion, tolerance and equal opportunities. Their autism-friendly Cocoa Concerts is another major community initiative. This program provides a safe environment for children living with autism and their families. Through community and musical education programs, the Budapest Festival Orchestra seeks to bring the beauty of classical music to everyone, of any age or societal status. Classical music connects people, and can help to build and strengthen communities, especially when channeled through proactive groups such as the BFO.

The members of the Cantemus Choir are former students of the Kodály Zoltán Primary School of Nyíregyháza, Hungary. Now they are a group of university students and working professionals who find a common interest in the choice, founded by conductor and teacher Dénes Szabó. Originall a group that came together only to rehearse and perform on special occasions, they began to work independently in 1998 under Soma Szabó. The choir has won several international choir competitions, taken part in leading festivals, and undertaken concert tours in Europe.

You can purchase 2019–2020 season tickets of the Budapest Festival Orchestra online.

Darby Swab