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After the Quarantine: plan on the BFO


After the Quarantine: plan on the BFO

Though the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted everyone’s lives, the Budapest Festival Orchestra decided to create safe conditions and push full steam ahead with the 2020-2021 season. Season passes will go on sale on June 10, while single tickets and flexible season passes will be available from June 24.

The line-up for the new season was designed by Music Director Iván Fischer to feature the right mix of young talents and accomplished legends, performing serious and lighthearted pieces; as before, the musical repertoire will span from early music to contemporary compositions. Fischer will conduct pieces by Beethoven, Mahler, Liszt, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Schumann, Bruckner, Mozart and Ravel. Once again, they will send off the year with a Surprise Concert at the Budapest Congress Center.

It’s important to note that buying a BFO season pass is completely safe: first, because selling is conducted entirely online to preserve the health of the general public, and second, because you are protected from financial loss. Should we be forced to cancel any of our concerts due to the pandemic, we will refund the corresponding portion of the price of the season pass.

Music with a twist

#driftingaway #standingupto #tearsofhappiness #timber #defiance #halfscream #freshness #skyhighnotes #lightness #freedom #phoenixbathing

These expressions grasp so many things from our daily lives, don’t they? The program of the BFO’s new season will be similarly diverse. For the orchestra’s lead-up campaign, contemporary authors and poets were asked to listen to a piece from this season’s program from Mozart through Beethoven to Prokofiev and note down one single association triggered by that piece of music, creating ten completely unique words or expressions about music. The participants also told the story of how they came up with these expressions. The campaign included influential and outstanding Hungarian literary figures such as György Dragomán, János Lackfi, Ádám Nádasdy, Lajos Parti Nagy, Éva Péterfy-Novák, György Spiró, Anna Szabó T., Benedek Totth, Krisztina Tóth and Pál Závada. The campaign was sponsored by Magvető Publishing and Libri Publishing

International and Hungarian big guns

In the new season, the Budapest Festival Orchestra will be performing with true legends such as delicate and sensitive Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang, the passionate and relentlessly virtuosic violinist Christian Tetzlaff, conductor Robin Ticciati (also a student of Sir Simon Rattle), polymath Jörg Widmann, “master of powerful bursts of energy” Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Julia Fischer, described as having an “impeccable intonation but also a warm heart”, and Midori Seiler, the “most versatile and outstanding figure of Baroque violin play”.

They will work with several iconic Hungarian musicians, including of the world’s most sought-after violinists, Kristóf Baráti, whose performance of Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D major was described by Bachtrack as being “all softness and grace, though again with an intense brightness in the string sound”. The BFO will be led for the first time by internationally-acclaimed Gergely Madaras, who was voted artist of the month in September 2019 by Mezzo TV. Brilliant soprano Emőke Baráth who shined in last year’s opera production L’Orfeo and Gábor Takács-Nagy with his essential Haydn-Mozart Plus concert series will also be making a comeback.

Iván Fischer will introduce Hungarian audiences to a number of young soloists: among them, the Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho, winner of the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition; fellow pianist Anna Vinnitskaya, whom the Washington Post has called “a true lioness at the keyboard devouring the most difficult pages of music”; as well as young tenor Andrew Staples, who sings Mahler’s The Song of the Earth with perfection.

Playing sans frontières

The BFO’s musicians have lots of opportunities to play chamber music and also to show their skills as soloists even in non-classical genres. This is a standard feature in their currently running onlineQuarantine Soirées, and will also take place in the new season. Violinist Noémi Molnár for example will perform a jazzy and tango-like violin concerto by Loussier. Other soloist performances in the season will include Tamás Pálfalvi (trumpet), Péter Szabó (cello), Zoltán Szőke (horn), Dávid Báll (piano), Gordon Fantini (bassoon), Anett Jóföldi (flute), Johannes Grosso (oboe), Ágnes Polónyi (harp), Yoonshin Song (violin) and Andrea Bressan (bassoon).

An orchestra for the communities

With the normalization of the funding provided by the government and Budapest, the Festival Orchestra will resume its Community Weeks as soon as permitted by the epidemiological situation: as part of our free nation-wide concert series, the orchestra is giving performances in churches and abandoned synagogues, and taking their interactive Music Castle concerts to children across the country.


Click here for information about passes.