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March 16th - April 1st, 2007

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March 16th
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:30 pm
Kodály evening with the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir
20 Hungarian Folksongs – arrangement by Zoltán Kocsis
Kodály: Double dance from Kálló
Kodály: Te Deum of Budavár
Conductor: Zoltán Kocsis
With: Eszter Sümegi, Bernadett Wiedemann, Szabolcs Brickner, Bence Asztalos / voice
Choirmaster: Mátyás Antal
The story of the National Philharmonic Orchestra (formerly the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra) began in 1923, with the formation of the Metropolitan Orchestra, which rapidly became one of the pillars of Hungarian musical life. After the war, Ferenc Fricsay and László Somogyi were appointed as principal conductors. During this era, Otto Klemperer also conducted forty concerts, while another regular guest was Antál Doráti.
In the 1950's, the orchestra began a series of highly successful foreign appearances. 1952 saw the appointment of János Ferencsik as principal conductor, which proved to be a match made in heaven for the orchestra. In the 1960's, a new wave of guest conductors took up invitations to conduct the orchestra, and their names read like a Who's Who of the profession: Ernest Ansermet, Antál Doráti, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Sir John Barbirolli, Leopold Stokowski, Claudio Abbado and Christoph von Dohnányi. Soloists to perform with the orchestra included such legends as Sviatoslav Richter, Yehudi Menuhin, Anja Silja, János Starker and Ruggiero Ricci, to name only a few.
János Ferencsik's death in 1984 brought this chapter of the orchestra's history to a close. But in 1987, a fitting successor to Ferencsik was found in the person of the Japanese conductor Kobayashi Ken-Ichiro. Kobayashi enjoyed immense popularity in Hungary and he directed the orchestra for ten years. The next major change for the orchestra occurred in 1998 when it was renamed Hungarian National Philharmonic and together with the Hungarian State Choir (now Hungarian National Choir) became national basic institutions.
In the past few years, the orchestra has received a remarkable number of invitations to perform abroad, It has enjoyed immense successes at venues as far apart as the New York Avery Fisher Hall, the Tokyo Suntory Hall, the Birmingham Symphony Hall, the Athens Megaron Musicos and the Colmar Festival. ConcertoNet, the distinguished internet classical music journal nominated the orchestra's concert in New York in February 2003 as the winner of the Lully Prize for the best concert of the season.
In Spring 2003, after a long pause in making recordings, a CD consisting of Zoltán Kocsis’s orchestrations of Debussy and Ravel was published which immediately won the Hungarian Gramofon award and also the international jury prize at the Cannes Midem Classical Awards. In February 2004 the orchestra released a further three CDs: one contained three Bartók works – Dance Suite, Concerto and the Hungarian Peasant Dances. The editor in chief o the American ClassicsToday.com, the jury chairman of the Cannes Midem said „There exists no better recording of Dance Suite.” Of the Concerto, he wrote „there has never been a recording of this work like it, it is so exciting and in form and spirit, entirely faithful to Bartók’s score”

Born in Budapest in 1952, Zoltán Kocsis launched his international career at the age of eighteen when he won Hungarian Radio's International Beethoven Competition, and a scintillating solo career rapidly unfolded. He was invited to perform all over Europe, in North and South America as well as the Far East. In 1977, he was invited by Sviatoslav Richter to perform at his festival in France, and the two pianists also gave duet recitals together. He has performed with leading world orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Orchestra. He has been a regular guest at international festivals in Edinburgh, Paris, Tours, Lucerne, Salzburg, Prague and Menton, and worked with such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Christoph von Dohnányi, Edo de Waart, Charles Mackerras, Lovro von Matacic, Charles Dutoit, Herbert Blomstedt and Michael Tilson Thomas. In 1983, he co-founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Iván Fischer, and since 1987 has regularly conducted. He is also a recognised composer. He is deeply committed to contemporary music and has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with, amongst others, György Kurtág, giving world premieres of numerous Kurtág compositions, some of which are dedicated to him. Zoltán Kocsis has recorded for Denon, Hungaroton, Nippon Columbia, Phonogram and Quintana, and was, for several years, an exclusive Philips Classics artist. He received an Edison prize for his recordings with Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra of the three Bartók concertos. In Autumn 1997, he became general music director of the National Philharmonic Orchestra (formerly the Hungarian State Orchestra). As a result, the orchestra's repertoire has broadened considerably, and since his appointment, several works have been given their world premiere. In recent years, he has toured many European countries, the United States and Japan with the orchestra as both conductor and soloist, and enjoyed immense critical acclaim. The orchestra frequently performs Kocsis’s own transcriptions of piano works by Bartók, Debussy and Ravel. The rejuvenated orchestra is now greeted by audiences and critics alike with the acclaim of world stars. In January 2004, Zoltán Kocsis was bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Cannes Midem, where he also received the distinguished French honour, Le Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France's minister of culture, awarded for his supreme efforts popularising French music and for the entirety of his work as a musician. In March 2005, his work was, for the second time after 1978, acknowledged with the Kossuth Prize.
Bence Asztalos, singer, bass. Received a diploma in opera singing at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music where his teacher was Sándor Sólyom-Nagy. From 2002 as a member of the studio of the Deutsche Opera am Rhein he has performed in the Düsseldorf Opera and the Duisburg Theatre. He has had roles in Salome and Ariadne auf Naxos (R. Strauss) and in Tosca. He has also appeared in the Hungarian State Opera House since 2000, at last year’s Spring Festival he sang in Verdi’s rarely performed opera, Alzira.




March 17th
Academy of Music, 7:30 pm
Dvořák: Slavonic Dances No. 1, 5, 6
Bartók: Rhapsody No. 1
Bartók: Rhapsody No. 2
Schumann: Symphony No. 1
Conductor: Lawrence Foster
With: David Lefèvre / violin
It was the fortune of the Armenian-born millionaire, Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian (1869-1955), the biggest patron of Portuguese art that formed the basis of the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. The Foundation operates a permanent museum, supports and finances charitable institutions, educational programmes and various art projects. The symphony orchestra founded in 1962 has become the leading ensemble in the Portuguese music world and, following the example of the Portuguese navigators and explorers of the past, has travelled to almost forty continents on four continents. The ensemble is coming to Budapest under the direction of its music director, the outstanding American conductor Lawrence Foster.
(With the support of Instituto Camões.)


March 17th
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:45 pm
Richard Strauss evening with the Budapest Festival Orchestra
Till Eulenspiegel
Horn concerto No. 2Salome – Dance of the Seven Veils
Ariadne auf Naxos – Ariadne’s aria ("Es gibt ein Reich")
Ariadne auf Naxos – final scene
Conductor: Iván Fischer
With: Szabolcs Zempléni / horn, Jane Eaglen (Ariadne), Robert Dean Smith (Bacchus), Virginie Pochon (Echo), Claudia Mahnke (Dryade), Valerie Condoluci (Naiade) / voice
The music of Richard Strauss is a real test for orchestra, composer and soloist. The audience perceives nothing of this, provided that the performance is in the hands of a conductor like Iván Fischer, the orchestra plays like the Budapest Festival Orchestra and the soloists sing like the guest artists for this evening. Ariadne believed every word Theseus said, and look what happened! So don’t believe us but go to the concert and hear for yourself.

March 18th
Academy of Music, 7:45 pm
Richard Strauss evening with the Budapest Festival Orchestra
Till Eulenspiegel
Horn concerto No. 2
Salome – Dance of the Seven Veils
Ariadne auf Naxos – Ariadne’s aria ("Es gibt ein Reich")
Ariadne auf Naxos – final scene
Conductor: Iván Fischer
With: Szabolcs Zempléni / horn, Jane Eaglen (Ariadne), Robert Dean Smith (Bacchus), Virginie Pochon (Echo), Claudia Mahnke (Dryade), Valerie Condoluci (Naiade) / voice

March 19th
Hungarian State Opera House, 7:30 pm
Wagner: Wesendonck Songs
Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 in E major
Conductor: Eliahu Inbal
With: Judit Németh / voice
The Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra boasts a unique history among current Hungarian orchestras. It was founded as long ago as 1853 when its first resident conductor was Ferenc Erkel. He was succeeded by Sándor Erkel, István Kerner, János Richter, Ernõ Dohnányi, János Ferencsik, András Kórodi and Erich Bergel. For its first ninety years, it was formed from the top players at the Opera House and was the only professional orchestra in Hungary. They premiered numerous of the most important works of the international literature in Hungary, and worked with leading composers and performers, such as Liszt, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Bartók, Kodály and Furtwängler, Mengelberg, Failoni and others. After 1945, although it was no longer the only professional Hungarian orchestra, it continued to play an important role in Hungarian music life, working with such artists as Klemperer, Doráti, Oistrakh, Rossi, Zecchi, Zathureczky, Annie Fischer, Inbal and others, earning the ensemble international respect. In 1992, the Friends of the Budapest Philharmonic Society Foundation was formed to give it moral and financial support. In September 1997, the American conductor Rico Saccani, who had earlier worked regularly with the orchestra and was committed to its success, took over as artistic director.


Conductor Eliahu Inbal was born in Israel in 1936. He began his studies at the Jerusalem Academy and continued in Paris, Hilversum and Sienna with Franco Ferrara and Sergiu Celibidache. After winning the Cantelli Conducting Competition at the age of 26 his international career took off and he received invitations to appear with leading orchestras in Europe, the United States and Japan. He was principal conductor at the Teatro La Fenice from 1984-1987. He also appeared at the opera houses of Munich, Hamburg and Verona, and the Glyndebourne Festival. He has conducted many new productions in Paris and Zurich. From 1974-1990 he was music director of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra where in 1995 he was appointed honorary conductor. With this orchestra he made successful tours and recorded highly acclaimed complete cycles of Mahler, Bruckner, Berlioz, Schumann, Berg, Schönberg, Webern and Brahms. His Mahler recordings received the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, the Grand Prix du Disc and the Prix Caecilia. Equally successful are his recordings of the complete works of Ravel (with the French National Orchestra), a Dvorak and Stravinsky cycle (Philharmonia Orchestra London), Shostakovich symphonies (Vienna Symphony), the orchestral works of Bartók and the symphonic poems of Richard Strauss (Orchestre de la Suisse Romande). From 1995-2001 he was chief conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of the RAI and in 2001 was nominated music director of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra for five years.

March 19th
Italian Institute of Culture, 7:30 pm
UMZE Ensemble
András Szőllősy: Addio
Messiaen: Oiseaux exotiques
Péter Eötvös: Shadows
Ligeti: Violin Concerto
Conductor: Zoltán Rácz
With: András Keller / violin, Gábor Csalog / piano, Gergely Ittzés / flute, Csaba Klenyán / clarinet
Organized jointly with Új Magyar Zene Egyesülete
March 20th
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:30 pm
NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg
Ligeti: Lontano
Mendelssohn: Violin concerto in E minor, op. 64
Mahler: Symphony No. 1 (D major)
Conductor: Christoph von Dohnányi
With: Vadim Repin / violin
The ensemble was founded after the war, in summer 1945. The founding conductor was Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt. Its first concert was given under the name of Northwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra and it soon developed into one of the leading ensembles of the post-war German music scene. After the founding conductor, it was directed by such musicians as Moshe Atzmon, Klaus Tennstedt, Günter Wand, John Eliot Gardiner and Herbert Blomstedt. Besides the classic and romantic orchestral repertoire, the ensemble often performs contemporary works. It has given many premières (Schönberg, Stravinsky, Nono, Zimmermann, Henze, Penderecki, Ligeti, Lachenmann and Bussotti). The first guest conductor, from 1988-1992 was Krzystof Penderecki of Poland, who conducted the orchestra in numerous first performances and recordings. Günter Wand has had especially close ties with the NDR Symphony Orchestra. He headed the ensemble from 1982 to 1991 and his Beethoven, Brahms and Bruckner symphony cycles became legendary.

Christoph von Dohnanyi is recognised as one of the leading concert and opera conductors, he conducts the leading orchestras of Europe and North America and is a frequent guest in the world’s famous opera houses. He was born in Berlin and began to study law but then switched to composing, piano and conducting studies in Munich. He then studied at Florida State University with his grandfather, Ernő Dohnányi. In 1953 he was hired as repetiteur and conductor in the Frankfurt Opera by Georg Solti. At the age of 27, as Germany’s youngest music director, he became chief conductor of the Westdeutsche Symphonie Orchester in Cologne and he was also general music director and opera director in Frankfurt. In 1978 he became intendant and chief conductor of Hamburg Opera. He first directed the Cleveland Orchestra in 1981, in the following year became music director designate and between 1984 and 2002 he was the sixth music director. He gave concerts with the orchestra in the major American concert halls as well as in Asia and Europe, among others at the Salzburg and Edinburgh Festivals and at the London Proms. In recent years he has conducted the Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Boston orchestras, and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra on a number of occasions. In the 2004-2005 season he was appointed chief conductor of the Hamburg NDR Symphony Orchestra, but he also receives regular invitations from the world’s leading orchestras and opera houses (Berlin, Vienna, Israel Philharmonics, Concertgebouw, La Scala, Metropolitan, Vienna Opera, Covent Garden). His name is associated with many outstanding opera interpretations.


March 21st
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:30 pm
Riccardo Muti and Philharmonia Orchestra
Mozart: Symphony in D major
(Haffner),K 385
Liszt: Les Préludes
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 (Pathétique), op. 74
Conductor: Riccardo Muti
The orchestra with the most refined sound and the world’s most elegant conductor, but don’t expect advice on how to dress. Just music, music and more music.




March 21st
HAS Ceremonial Hall, Roosevelt tér, 7:30 pm
Bach evening
J. S. Bach: Concerto for two harpsichords in C minor, BWV 1060
J. S. Bach: Concerto for two harpsichords in C major, BWV 1061
C. Ph. E. Bach: Sonatina in B flat major, WQ 110
C. Ph. E. Bach: Concerto for harpsichord and fortepiano in E flat major WQ 47
With: Judit Péteri / harpsichord, Miklós Spányi / harpsichord, fortepiano, Concerto Armonico (Artistic director: Miklós Spányi)



March 22nd
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:30 pm
Kraus: Symphony in C minor
Mozart: Symphony in C major (Jupiter), K 551
Kraus: Olympia - nyitány
Mozart: g-moll szimfónia, K 550
Concert master: Anton Steck
We are very sorry to inform our audience but due to illness Waltraud Meier has unexpectedly cancelled her performance tonight.



March 24th
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:30 pm
Rebel: Les Éléments
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
Midori Seiler hegedűművész
Since the early eighties this ensemble specialising mainly in Baroque music has been one of the world’s main workshops of early music. Since their debut in London (Wigmore Hall, 1999) they regularly appear with Cecilia Bartoli, René Jacobs and Andreas Scholl. They have won many prizes; most recently in 2006 the ensemble was awarded the Telemann prize of the city of Magdeburg.

Jean-Féry Rebel (1666–1747) must have known Vivaldi's Four Seasons concertos, but his work differs considerably from Vivaldi's compositions. The opening chaos movement is probably the first freely shaped orchestral movement in the history of music. We do not know how the contemporary audience responded to this "sound poem" that causes surprise even today.






March 25th
HAS Ceremonial Hall, Roosevelt tér, 7:30 pm
Mozart: Symphony No. 29 in A major, K 201
Pleyel: Cello concerto in D major
Janácek: Suite for string orchestra
Bartók: Divertimento
Conductor: Ruben Gazarian
With: Péter Szabó / cello
An impulsive Armenian conductor’s interpretation of familiar compositions and a rarity. Music-making from Germany’s wealthiest region.
(With the support of the French Insitute.)

http://www.wko-heilbronn.de

March 25th
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:30 pm
Guarnieri: Abertura concertante
Bartók: Piano concerto No. 2.
Debussy: La Mer
Ginastera: Estancia, op. 8b
Conductor: John Neschling
With: Dezső Ránki / piano
The Budapest programme of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra faithfully reflects the ensemble’s artistic aspirations. Besides masterpieces of universal music history (an orchestral piece by Debussy and a Bartók piano concerto), they will perform works by two composers who have become classics of 20th century South American music, Alberto Ginastera (1916–1983) and Camargo Guarnieri (1907–1993).


March 26th
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:00 pm
Bach: St Matthew Passion
Conductor: Martin Haselböck
With: Andreas Karasiak (Evangelist), Stephen Salters (Jesus), Lynne Dawson, Carlos Mena, Mark Bleeke, Klaus Mertens / voice, Wiener Akademie, Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra (Los Angeles), Chorus Sine Nomine (choirmaster: Johannes Hiemetsberger)
Bach's masterpiece from nearby Vienna and distant Los Angeles.




March 27th
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:30 pm
Liszt-Adams: La lugubre gondola
Mozart: Piano concerto in B flat major, K 595
Haydn: Symphony in D major, No. 104
Kodály: Galánta Dances
Conductor: Trevor Pinnock
With: Maria João Pires / piano
The incredible adventures in Galánta of the musicians of Bremen, in the service of Professor Pinnock and Senora Pires.


March 28th
Academy of Music, 7:30 pm
Ingrid Kertesi (voice) and Gábor Boldoczki (trumpet)
Pergolesi: Concerto in G major, No. 1
Tartini: Trumpet concerto in D major
Haydn: L'infedelta delusa / Deceit Outwitted - Vespina’s aria
Handel: Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne - "Eternal source"
Handel: Samson - "Let the bright Seraphim"
Bach: Brandenburg concerto No. 6, BWV 1051
Bach: Cantata No. 51, "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen", BWV 51
With:Budapest Strings
Artistic director: Károly Botvay
Concertmaster: Béla Bánfalvi
The young trumpeter hailed as the successor to Maurice André and the most acclaimed Hungarian coloratura soprano, Ingrid Kertesi invite lovers of Baroque music to a very special concert.






March 29th
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:30 pm
Liszt: Orpheus
Liszt: Piano concerto No. 2 in A major
Liszt: Totentanz
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in F minor
Conductor: Mikhail Pletnev
With: Denis Matsuev / piano
Big romantic programme. With big, Russian soul.






March 30th
Academy of Music, 7:45 pm
Zemlinsky: The Mermaid
Beethoven: Piano concerto No. 5
Conductor: Hans Graf
With: Stephen Kovacevich / piano
You can meet one of the best Beethoven pianists of our age, and the mermaid is quite something too.

March 31st
Academy of Music, 7:45 pm
Zemlinsky: The Mermaid
Beethoven: Piano concerto No. 5
Conductor: Hans Graf
With: Stephen Kovacevich / piano
You can meet one of the best Beethoven pianists of our age, and the mermaid is quite something too.



April 1st
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:30 pm
Kodály: Háry János
Conductor: Ádám Fischer
Háry János: Béla Perencz
Örzse: Judit Németh
Marci, coachman: Viktor Massányi
Narrator: Géza Hegedűs D.

With: Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Choir and Children's Choir
Choirmaster: Kálmán Strausz, Gabriella Thész
The Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1943 and its first conductor was the chief music director of Hungarian Radio, Ernő Dohnányi. It is one of Hungary’s leading orchestras and one of the most distinguished in Europe. Since its inception it has performed with many of the world’s greatest musicians, and has also toured four continents. The orchestra regularly performs and records the full spectrum of the symphonic-oratorio repertoire, from the Baroque to contemporary music. From 1993 to 2004, its chief music director was Tamás Vásáry who from 2005, took up the post of Honorary Life Music Director. From 2004, its principal conductor was László Kovács. Ádám Fischer took over this post for the 2005 / 2006 season and from September 2006, will be its principal music director.

The Hungarian Radio Choir was formed in 1950. The ensembles conductors have been Endre Székely, Darázs Árpád, Zoltán Vásárhelyi, Cecília Vajda, Imre Csenki, Ferenc Sapszon and Péter Erdei. Since 1992 their choirmaster has been Kálmán Strausz. The repertoire of the Hungarian Radio Choir encompasses all areas of choral music including opera and oratorio in addition to operetta and musicals. Classical and contemporary composers play a great role in the work of the choir. In 1985, the choir’s work was recognised with the Bartók-Pásztory prize. During its existence, the choir has worked with virtually the major world conductors: Antal Doráti, János Ferencsik, Lovro von Matačič, Kurt Masur, Paul Sacher, Peter Schreier, Eric Ericson, Yehudi Menuhin, Lamberto Gardelli, Tamás Vásáry, Giuseppe Patané and Marcello Viotti have all conducted the orchestra. In 2003-2004, the choir enjoyed a very successful tour of Transylvania and Slovakia.

Conductor Ádám Fischer was born in Budapest in 1949 and studied composition and conducting there, before continuing his studies at the Vienna Music College. His international career was launched when he won the Milan competition in 1973. Since then has been a regular guest at the world’s leading opera houses (Wiener Staatsoper, La Scala Milan, Met etc.) and festivals (Salzburg, Bregenz, Maggio Musicale etc.). His recordings, such as the complete Haydn symphonies, are also widely admired. For five years, he was the music director of the Kassel State Theatre and in Autumn 2000, was appointed director of the opera company of the Mannheim National Theatre. He is also a regular guest at the Bayreuth Festival. Ádám Fischer is the spiritus rector and artistic director of the Austrian-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra and Danish Radio Sinfonietta, and also inspired the series of events in homage to Gustav Mahler. He is the principal guest conductor of the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra for the 2005/2006 season and from September 2006, will be its general music director.

Kálmán Strausz graduated from the Budapest Franz Liszt Music Academy where he studied with Zoltán Vásárhelyi and István Párkai. In 1974 he joined Hungarian Radio as an editor and from 1977 worked as the conductor of the Budapest Youth Choir and leader of the classical music department of Hungarian Television. He was artistic director of the Debrecen Kodály Choir between 1984 and 1991. He has won many competitions with his choirs; he has made records and television and radio recordings. He is a founder of the biannual Budapest InterNational Choir Competition and its artistic director. He is regularly asked to sit on juries at interNational Choir competitions (Debrecen Béla Bartók Choir Competition, the Stuttgart German Choir Competition, the Lawton University Singing Competition.) He has been a guest conductor in Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Israel, Japan and the United States. In April 1999, he was asked to rehearse the singers for a production of Verdi’s Luisa Miller in Barcelona. Since 1992 he has been the chief conductor of the Hungarian Radio Choir. In 1997 he received the Liszt Prize and in 2004, the Lajtha Prize.


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