The Budapest Festival Orchestra is listed among the best orchestras of the world according to the BBC Music Magazine.
The listed ensembles in alphabetical order are the following: the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
The magazine portrays the BFO as follows: "The Budapest Festival Orchestra has, under its director of music Iván Fischer, become one of Europe’s most important ensembles. In fact, it was Fischer who co-founded the ensemble almost 40 years ago with Zoltan Kocsis, and which since then has become renowned for its stunning surround-sound recordings of Mahler. Fischer is a dynamic leader and refuses to play by the book – which is why he gets the results he does. The BFO has break-out groups specialising in period instruments, contemporary music and Balkan folk which gives his players musical freedoms that in turn feeds back into the main ensemble. And regularly invites orchestra members to programme concerts and compete with each other for concerto slots. The players seem to respond, with playing of warmth and sharpness of ensemble."