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my basket


Ákos Ács has been the leader of the BFO’s clarinet section for almost twenty-five years; his first memories take him back to a warm summer when he sat at rehearsal with a towel around his neck.

My first memory of the BFO as a musician, when I was not just a member of the audience anymore, is from the summer of 1992, to be precise. It was a very hot summer.

I was a student at the music academy and was helping out with the orchestra. We were performing in Vörösmarty Square; where the building of the Philharmonic was still standing. My mind has retained specific details, like the fact that I was playing the bass clarinet and that we were perhaps performing excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

And then a more important request soon came along: the same summer I was able to join the orchestra at the Proms in London. The rehearsal hall was already located in Selmeci utca. Half of the building was a movie theater, previously known as the “Óbuda” Cinema; the posters from the last movies shown there were still up next to the box office. It was so hot that many of us put towels around our necks as we played - but we would have done anything to perform at the Proms.

The BFO is a place where no matter how much of a beginner you may be, you will still play with the greatest musicians and can help them with your instrument. For instance, we performed Liszt’s piano concerto in E-flat major together with Zoli Kocsis. And then in Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, I accompanied Ildikó Komlósi and László Polgár on the bass clarinet.

In September, I had a try-out performance, and then I was eventually admitted to the Festival Orchestra. Initially I had a scholarship, and then a year later I became a full member. I played my Liszt Academy graduation performance already with the BFO. We performed Mozart’s clarinet concerto at the Vigadó, one time, and at Selmeci utca, one other time. Iván Fischer was the conductor for my graduation performance, with Gábor Takács-Nagy as the concertmaster. I was a flustered, just a little bit, by the whole thing. 😊

Let’s not even count the number of years which have passed since then; let’s say instead that this orchestra has become my life.

Click here to read about Ákos Ács’s career.