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Birthday serenade

Birthday serenade

Andrea Paiss made her music-loving grandmother, Magda Gárdonyi enormously happy when she organized a serenade concert by the Budapest Festival Orchestra for her 93rd birthday. Let's celebrate our 40th birthday with BFO stories!

Grandma was really into classical music. She learned to play the piano as a child and loved music throughout her life. She went to the very the first concerts of the Budapest Festival Orchestra with my grandpa and they also took my parents and us along. As the BFO had become increasingly famous and tickets were more and more expensive, we couldn’t go to all the concerts any more. And although grandma remained mentally sound right until her death at age 94, she left her home less and less often.

During the pandemic, when we couldn’t go to concerts, the orchestra came up with the idea of the Serenade Concerts: small chamber ensembles performed to residents of apartment blocks, usually old houses with an interior courtyard and hanging corridors. When I saw the invitation, I wrote to the orchestra that my grandmother would have her birthday in early June and I’d be delighted if they could come and surprise her in her home in central Budapest.

Thanks to the kind organizers, it all went very smoothly. Grandma had no idea at all, and when she went out to the hanging corridor, the musicians were already standing in the courtyard. One of them said that there was someone there who would soon have her birthday – and the concert was particularly played to her. My grandmother was moved to tears while listening to the wonderful music and the greetings for her birthday. Sadly, she now listens to music as a member of the heavenly audiences.

In the meantime, our children have also become regulars at the Cocoa Concerts, so now the fourth generation of our family is already attending the BFO’s concerts.

Photo: Gábor Máté