The Budapest Festival Orchestra as directed and conducted by legendary Maestro Iván Fischer played at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall on Sunday February 5th. This was followed by a Gala dinner Chaired by Sylvia Hemingway and Honorary Chair Daisy Soros, along with the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Budapest Festival Orchestra including: Susan Bender, Aaron Feinstein, Kathryn Livingston Forgan, Emese Tardy-Green, Andrew and Heidi Lee Komaromi, Kati Marton, Aniko Gaal Schott, Stephanie Stokes and David Tobey.
Board Chairman Stephen E. Benko welcomed guests including Consul General Dr. Ferenc Kumin, Ambassador Colleen Bell, Ambassador Donald Blinken and Vera Blinken, Cece Goldwater, Stanley H. Rumbough, and Gianluigi and Adrienne Vittadini to hear a performance by the orchestra David Allen of The New York Times wrote might be “the best in the world.”
Famous for his unconventional interpretations that play with everything from staging to tempos, conductor Iván Fischer approaches Beethoven like no one else. Fischer and his “consistently glorious” Budapest Festival Orchestra (New York Times) presented Beethoven’s Symphony No.1, Piano Concerto No. 4 and Symphony No. 5 to a raptured audience. To conclude, Maestro invited 40 students from the Julliard School and Bard College, who joined the orchestra while they completed the symphony to add jubilation to the grand finale.
Following the performance, guests including, Shae Arender, Michele Busiri-Vici, Stefan Englert, Richard Goode, R. Couri Hay, Maryanne Horwath, Cheri Kaufman, Noel V. Lateef, Terez Rowley, Nicholas & Kristina Ratut, Christine Schott & George Ledes, Laine Siklos, Christina Verger, and Si Zentner, headed to the grand promenade for a cocktail hour and gala dinner.
During the dinner, Stephen Benko rose to thank Ivan Fischer for his incredible performance after which Maestro made a short speech thanking attendees and the FBFO for their 20 years of support and service. He also referred to his plan to play in Boston soon, perhaps foreseeing the New England Patriots Super Bowl win later that evening.
The Budapest Festival Orchestra is one of the international music scene’s major success stories, being rated among the top ten orchestras in the world. Its key figure and founder is the legendary Music Director/Conductor Iván Fischer.