Iván Fischer

Artistic Director

© Ákos Stiller

Con­duc­tor, com­pos­er, opera direc­tor, thinker and edu­ca­tor, anchored in the tra­di­tion of the great musi­cal poly­maths, Iván Fis­ch­er is con­sid­ered one of the most vision­ary musi­cians of our time.

His focus is always the music, and to this end he has devel­oped sev­er­al new con­cert for­mats and reformed the struc­ture and work­ing method of the sym­pho­ny orches­tra. In the mid-1980s he found­ed the Budapest Fes­ti­val Orches­tra, where he has since intro­duced and estab­lished numer­ous inno­va­tions. He envi­sions a pool of musi­cians serv­ing the com­mu­ni­ty in var­i­ous com­bi­na­tions and musi­cal styles.

His work as Music Direc­tor of the Budapest Fes­ti­val Orches­tra has devel­oped into one of the great­est musi­cal suc­cess sto­ries of the last 40 years. With inter­na­tion­al tours and a series of record­ings for Philips Clas­sics and Chan­nel Clas­sics, he has earned a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the world’s most cel­e­brat­ed orches­tral con­duc­tors, for whom tra­di­tion and inno­va­tion go hand in hand.

He has found­ed a num­ber of fes­ti­vals, includ­ing the Budapest Mahler­fest, the “Bridg­ing Europe” fes­ti­val and the Vicen­za Opera Fes­ti­val. The World Eco­nom­ic Forum pre­sent­ed him with the Crys­tal Award for his achieve­ments in fos­ter­ing inter­na­tion­al cul­tur­al rela­tions.

He was prin­ci­pal con­duc­tor of the Nation­al Sym­pho­ny Orches­tra in Wash­ing­ton, the Opéra Nation­al de Lyon and the Konz­erthau­sor­ch­ester Berlin, the lat­ter appoint­ing him Con­duc­tor Lau­re­ate. The Roy­al Con­cert­ge­bouw Orches­tra named him Hon­orary Guest Con­duc­tor fol­low­ing many decades of work­ing togeth­er. He is a fre­quent guest con­duc­tor of the Berlin Phil­har­mon­ic, the Bavar­i­an Radio Sym­pho­ny Orches­tra and the New York Phil­har­mon­ic Orches­tra.

Iván Fis­ch­er stud­ied the piano, vio­lin and cel­lo in Budapest, before join­ing the leg­endary con­duct­ing class of Hans Swarowsky in Vien­na. Hav­ing spent two years as assis­tant to Niko­laus Harnon­court, he then launched his inter­na­tion­al career as win­ner of the Rupert Foun­da­tion con­duct­ing com­pe­ti­tion in Lon­don.

After var­i­ous guest appear­ances at inter­na­tion­al opera hous­es, he found­ed the Ivan Fis­ch­er Opera Com­pa­ny. His stag­ing always sets as its goal an organ­ic uni­ty between music and the­atre. IFOC pro­duc­tions, which often spa­tial­ly con­nect the instru­men­tal­ists and singers, have been received with great acclaim in recent years in New York, Edin­burgh, Abu Dhabi, Berlin, Gene­va and Budapest.

Iván Fis­ch­er has been active as a com­pos­er since 2004, writ­ing most­ly vocal music with instru­men­tal ensem­bles. His opera The Red Heifer made head­lines across the world; the children’s opera The Gruffa­lo enjoyed numer­ous revivals in Berlin; his most fre­quent­ly per­formed work, “Eine Deutsch-Jid­dis­che Kan­tate” has been per­formed and record­ed in sev­er­al coun­tries.

Iván Fis­ch­er is founder of the Hun­gar­i­an Mahler Soci­ety and patron of the British Kodá­ly Acad­e­my. The pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic of Hun­gary award­ed him the Gold Medal, and the French gov­ern­ment hon­oured him as Cheva­lier des Arts et des Let­tres. In 2006 he was dec­o­rat­ed with the Hun­gar­i­an Kos­suth Prize, in 2011 with the Roy­al Phil­har­mon­ic Soci­ety Music Award and the Dutch Ovatie Prize, and in 2013 he was named an hon­orary mem­ber of the Roy­al Acad­e­my of Music in Lon­don. Iván Fis­ch­er is an hon­orary cit­i­zen of Budapest.