One of the most prominent Hungarian conductors of his generation, Iván Fischer has established a reputation in both Hungarian and Baroque music. His interpretations of works by Liszt, Bartók, and Kodály have achieved international acclaim, and his readings of Hungarian-inspired works, like the Brahms Hungarian Dances (in Fischer's own orchestration), have also received high praise.
Iván Fischer is the founder and Music Director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra since 1983 and Honorary Conductor of Berlin’s Konzerthaus and Konzerthausorchester, after six years as Music Director of the Konzerthaus Berlin (2012-2018). In 2018 he became Artistic Director of the Vicenza Opera Festival. In recent years, he has also gained renown as a composer, with his works being performed in the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary, Germany and Austria.
The Budapest Festival Orchestra’s frequent worldwide tours and a series of critically acclaimed recordings, which have been awarded prestigious international prizes, released first by Philips Classics and later by Channel Classics, have contributed to Iván Fischer’s reputation as one of the world’s most visionary music directors. In Budapest and Berlin he introduced innovative concerts including cocoa concerts for small children, autism friendly concerts, midnight music for students and a variety of outreach activities.
A regular presence on the podium with leading orchestras of the world, Mr. Fischer has guest conducted the Berlin Philharmonic more than ten times and spends two weeks each year with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He is a frequent guest of the Cleveland Orchestra and New York Philharmonic, and held the position of Principal Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. from 2006 to 2010. Mr. Fischer has conducted operas in the Staatsoper Vienna, the Royal Opera House in London, the Opera de Paris, and in opera houses in Zurich, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Brussels, Berlin and Budapest. He has held music director posts with both the Kent Opera and the Opera National de Lyon. Since 2013, he has worked exclusively with the Iván Fischer Opera Company, with whom he has directed a number of successful “staged concerts” in Budapest, New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Bruges, Geneva and in the Abu Dhabi and Edinburgh Festivals.
Iván Fischer is a founder of the Hungarian Mahler Society and Patron of the British Kodaly Academy. He has received the Golden Medal Award from the President of the Republic of Hungary and the Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum for his services in promoting international cultural relations. The government of the French Republic made him Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. In 2006 he was honored with the Kossuth Prize, Hungary’s most prestigious arts award. In 2011 he received the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award, Hungary’s Prima Primissima Prize and the Dutch Ovatie Prize. In 2013 he was accorded Honorary Membership to the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 2015, he was presented with the Abu Dhabi Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement and in 2016, he won the Association of Music Critics of Argentina’s award for Best Foreign Conductor.
Iván Fischer studied piano, violin, and later the cello and composition in Budapest, before continuing his education in Vienna and Salzburg where he studied conducting under Hans Swarowsky and Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
Photo © Marco Borggreve