Artist database

This is the Artist Database of BMC, which includes information about composers, musicians, orchestras, choirs and groups that are either Hungarian or Hungarian by origin or live in Hungary, as well as information about releases recorded with them.

Budapesti Fesztiválzenekar (Budapest Festival Orchestra)

Orchestra, choir, ensemble

(+36 1) 489 4330 (Secretariat)
(+36 1) 388 6538 (Rehearsal hall)
(+36 1) 355 4049 (Secretariat)
(+36 1) 250 0255 (Rehearsal hall)
Further contact
Titkárság / Secretariat: Budapest, III., Lajos utca 48/66. C Building, Floor 5.

Próbaterem / Rehearsal hall: Budapest, III., Selmeci utca 14-16.

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), Hong-Kong, Paris (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées), Berlin, Munich , Frankfurt (Alte Oper), London (BBC Proms Festival, Barbican Centre, Royal Festival Hall), Florence (Maggio Musicale), Rome (Accademia di Santa Cecilia), Amsterdam (Concertgebouw), Madrid, Athens, Copenhagen, Prague (Prague Spring Festival), Brussels (Flamish Festival) and Buenos Aires (Teatro Colon), among others.

After having recorded on Hungaroton, Quintana, Teldec, Decca, Ponty and Berlin Classics, the orchestra signed an exclusive recording contract with Philips Classics in 1996. Its recording of Bartók's The Miraculous Mandarin received the Gramophone Award, while Diapason and Le Monde de la Musique chose it as their recording of the year. Recordings of Liszt's Faust Symphony and Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra were chosen among the year's five best orchestral discs by Gramophone. In 2003 the BFO signed a cooperation agreement with the label Channel Classics.

Numerous outstanding figures from the international music scene have performed with the orchestra: Sir Georg Solti (who was the orchestra's honorary guest conductor until his death), Yehudi Menuhin, Kurt Sanderling, Eliahu Inbal, Charles Dutoit, Gidon Kremer, Sándor Végh, András Schiff, Heinz Holliger, Agnes Baltsa, Ida Haendel, Martha Argerich, Hildegard Behrens, Yuri Bashmet, Rudolf Barshai, Kiri te Kanawa, Radu Lupu, Thomas Zehetmair, Vadim Repin, Helen Donath, Richard Goode and others.

Among the orchestra's more important projects, its opera productions have been widely acclaimed: The Magic Flute (Budapest), Cosi fan tutte (Athens), Idomeneo (Budapest/Athens), Orfeo ed Euridice (Budapest/Brussesl), Un Turco in Italia (Paris), the cycle of works marking the 50th anniversary of Bartók's death (Budapest/Brussels/Cologne/Paris/New York), the cycle of Mahler symphonies over several years (Budapest/Lisbon/Frankfurt/Vienna), the series of performances for the centenary of Brahms' death, a Bartók-Stravinsky cycle (Edinburgh/London/San Francisco/New York) and a Liszt-Wagner cycle in January 2004 (Budapest/Bruxelles/London).

The ensemble places great emphasis on the performance of new music: performing many world and Hungarian premieres (Ustvolskaia, Eötvös, Kurtág, Schönberg, Holliger, Tihanyi, Doráti, Copland, Adams). The orchestra regularly commissions new works (Jeney, Sáry, Lendvay, Vajda, Mártha, Melis, Vidovsky).

To promote the artistic development of its members the BFO has developed regular chamber music and chamber orchestra series alongside its major orchestral concerts. The Sunday afternoon chamber music events, the "Cocoa Concerts" for young children, the Haydn-Mozart series, where soloists of the concertos are members of the orchestra and the "Open Dress Rehearsals" with Iván Fischer's introductions to the works being performed have all quickly become favourites of the Budapest music audience.

Ever since its foundation 21 years ago, the BFO's Music Director has been Iván Fischer.

Current performances of Budapest Festival Orchestra
Koncertkalendárium (
Year Title Publisher Code Remark
Bartók Béla: Zongoraversenyek; Scherzo; Rapszódia
(Bartók, Béla: Piano Concertos; Scherzo; Rhapsody)
Hungaroton HCD 12869 Own
1983 A BFZ első koncertje
(The first BFO concert)
Hungaroton SLPD 12528 Own
1985 Berlioz, Hector: Rákóczi-induló Beethoven: István király - nyitány Hungaroton SPSD 22823 Own
1985 Schubert, Franz: IX.szimfónia Hungaroton SLPD, HCD 12722 Own
1987 Bartók Béla: Zongorára és zenekarra írott művek
(Bartók, Béla: Works for Piano and Orchestra)
Philips 416831-2 Own
1987 Schubert, Franz: IV. (c-moll) és V. (B-dúr) szimfónia Hungaroton SLPD, HCD 12842 Own
1988 Mozart, W. A.: C-dúr szimfóniák K.338/K.551, C-dúr menüett K.409 Hungaroton SLPD, HCD 12982 Own
1990 Strauss, Richard: Don Juan/Till Eulenspiegel/ Halál és megdicsőülés Hungaroton HCD 12899 Own
1990 Bartók Béla: Concerto; Táncszvit
(Bartók, Béla: Concerto; Dance Suite)
Hungaroton SLPD, HCD 31167 Own
1990 Sztravinszkij, Igor: Petruska/A tűzmadár szvit
(Stravinsky: Petruska / Firebird Siut)
Hungaroton HCD 31095 Own
1991 Mozart, W. A.: Esz-dúr szimfóniák (K.543/K.132/K.184) Hungaroton SLPD, HCD 31093 Own
1991 Dvorák, Antonín: Karnevál-nyitány/VIII.szimfónia Quintana QUI 103107, 403017, 903017 Own
1991 Strauss, Johann & Joseph: Polkák
(Strauss, Johann & Joseph: Polkas)
Quintana QUI 103106, 403016, 903016 Own
1992 Liszt Ferenc: Mazeppa; Les Préludes; Tasso; I.Mefisztó-keringő Quintana QUI 903049, 403049 Own
1993 A Bach-család
(The Bach Family)
Ponty BFZ 6001 Own
1994 Dvořák, Antonín: Gordonkaverseny Csajkovszkij, Pjotr Iljics: Változatok egy rokokó témára Hungaroton HCD 12868 Own
1994 Schubert, Franz: III. (D-dúr) és VIII. (h-moll) szimfónia Hungaroton SLPD, HCD 12616 Own
1994 Benda, Georg: Médeia - melodráma Ponty BFZ 6002 Own
1994 Kurtág György - Portraitkonzert - Salzburg, 1993. augusztus 10.
(Kurtág, György - Portraitkonzert - Salzburg, 10. 8. 1993.)
Col Legno WWE 31870 2 CDs
1995 Bartók Béla: I. és II.hegedűverseny
(Bartók, Béla: Violin Concerto Nos. 1-2)
Berlin Classics 0011342BC Own
1995 Bartók Béla: Rapszódia; Scherzo / Dohnányi Ernő: Változatok egy gyermekdalra
(Béla Bartók: Early Works for Piano and Orchestra, Rhapsody Op.1, Scherzo / Ernst von Dohnányi: Variations On a Nursery Song, Op.25)
Philips CD 446472-2 Own
1996 Liszt Ferenc: Esz-dúr és A-dúr zongoraverseny / Dohnányi: Változatok egy gyermekdalra
(Liszt: Piano Concertos in E flat major & in A major / Dohnányi: Variations on a Nursey Song Op. 25)
Hungaroton SLPD, HCD 31362 Own
1996 Bartók Béla: Zongoraversenyek
(Bartók, Béla: Piano Concertos)
Teldec 0630-13158-2 Own
1996 Ravel, Maurice: G-dúr és D-dúr zongoraverseny / Debussy: Fantázia zongorára és zenekarra
(Ravel, Maurice: Piano Concerto in G major and D major / Debussy: Fantasy fro Piano and Orchestra)
Philips CD 446713-2 Own
1997 Bartók Béla: A csodálatos mandarin; Román tánc; Magyar képek; Román népi táncok; Magyar parasztdalok; Erdélyi táncok
(Béla Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin (Complete Ballet); Hungarian Peasant Songs; Roumanian Folk Dances )
Philips 454430
1997 Liszt Ferenc: Faust szimfónia
(Franz Liszt: Faust Symphony)
Philips 454460-2 Own
1997 Bartók Béla: A fából faragott királyfi; Táncszvit
(Béla Bartók: The Wooden Prince; Dance Suite)
Philips 454429-2 Own
1997 Brahms, Johannes: Magyar táncok Nos. 1-21 (Összes)
(Brahms, Johannes: Hungarian Dances, Nos. 1-21 (complete))
Hungaroton HCD 12571 Own
1998 Liszt Ferenc: Hat magyar rapszódia
(Liszt: Six Hungarian Raphsody)
Philips 456570 Own
1998 The Last Recording - Sir Georg Solti
Weiner Leó: f-moll szerenád
Kodály Zoltán: Psalmus Hungaricus
Bartók Béla: Cantata Profana

(The Last Recording - Sir Georg Solti)
Decca 458929-2 Own
1998 Veress Sándor: Zongoraverseny/Hommage á Paul Klee/Hat csárdás
(Veress, Sándor: Concerto for Piano, Strings and Percussion/Hommage a Paul Klee)
Teldec 0630-19992-2 Own
1998 Bartók Béla: Kossuth-szimfónia; Falun; Concerto
(Béla Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra; 3 Village Scenes; Kossuth)
Philips 456575-2 Own
1999 Kodály Zoltán: Háry János - szvit/Marosszéki táncok/Galántai táncok/Kórusművek Philips 462824-2 Own
1999 Brahms, Johannes: Magyar táncok Philips 462589-2 Own
2000 Dvořák, Antonín: Legendák/Prágai keringők/Miniatűrök/H-dúr noktürn
(Dvořák, Antonín: Legends / Miniatures / Nocturne / Prague Waltzes)
Philips 464647-2 Own
2001 Sarasate, Pablo de: Cigánydalok/Carmen-fantázia Dvorak: e-moll mazurka/Hegedűverseny
(Dvorák: Violin Concerto / Sarasate, Pablo de: Carmen Fantasy)
Philips 464531 Own
2001 Dvořák, Antonín: VIII. és IX. szimfónia Philips 464460-2 Own
2001 Dvořák, Antonín: Szláv táncok Op. 46 & 72
(Dvořák, Antonín: Slavonic Dances Op.46 & 72)
Philips 464601-2 Own
2003 Bartók Béla: Zongoraversenyek I-III.
(Bartók, Béla: The Piano Concertos No. 1-3)
Warner 0927-46735-2 Own
2004 András Schiff Artist Portrait Warner 2564-61588-2
2004 Famous Austrian Composers - Strauss, Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Haydn, Albrechtsberger Capriccio C49370 5 CDs
2009 Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus: Zongoraversenyek G-dúr No.17, F-dúr No.11, F-dúr No.19
(Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus: Piano Concertos G Major No.17, F Major No.11, F Major No.19)
Philips 456577-2 Own