Iván Fischer, music director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO), will travel to Israel on Friday at the invitation of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Under his baton, the orchestra will give concerts in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem between January 22 and 28.
According to a statement on Wednesday, the Budapest Festival Orchestra will perform works by Saint-Saëns, Debussy, Satie, and Ravel, with Julian Steckel as cello soloist. All concerts will begin with Antonin Dvorák’s Nocturne.
“We have included Nocturne in the program at the request of Iván Fischer, who wishes to use this music to express his sympathy for all the victims of the current war, to send comfort to their families and hope to all those whose loved ones are still in danger,” the release quotes the Israeli orchestra’s concert program.
The conductor will spend ten days in Israel. “Now is the time to help, to give spiritual support and strength to all those who are victims of this terrible war,”
Iván Fischer stressed in the statement.
Fischer was born in Budapest in 1951. He studied piano, violin, cello, and composition in Budapest. He later moved to Vienna to study conducting with Hans Swarowsky at the University of Music and Performing Arts, where he also studied cello and early music.
Fischer won the Rupert Foundation Conducting Competition in London in 1976. He subsequently became a guest conductor with British orchestras such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony, and the London Symphony Orchestra, with whom he conducted a world tour in 1982. In the United States, he made his conducting debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1983. Fischer returned to Hungary in 1983, to found the Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO), which was initially intended for a limited number of concerts a year on a part-time basis. The BFO became a permanent institution in 1992, and held concerts for around 30 weeks each year.
In 2006, he was awarded Hungary’s most prestigious artistic honor, the Kossuth Prize. In 2011, Fischer received the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Prize and the Dutch Ovatie Prize. In 2013, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London.