Iván Fischer Named New Music Director of European Union Youth Orchestra

Iván Fischer Named New Music Director of European Union Youth Orchestra

The European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) is thrilled to announce the appointment of Iván Fischer as its new Music Director, effective immediately. Fischer, a distinguished Hungarian conductor, will continue his roles as Music Director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Honorary Guest Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Ehrendirigent of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin.

Fischer’s inaugural project with the EUYO will take place during the Orchestra’s annual summer residency in Grafenegg in August 2024. This will be followed by a tour to New York as part of Carnegie Hall’s WOW! Festival and performances at the Bolzano Festival Bozen. As Music Director, Fischer will be deeply involved in the planning of the Orchestra’s auditions, artistic training, and performances, collaborating closely with the EUYO’s Executive and Artistic Director.

In a significant expansion of the existing Apprenticeship Scheme between the EUYO and the Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO), Fischer and the two orchestras have agreed to establish a new European Orchestra Academy. This Academy aims to train future musical leaders in orchestral and chamber music, as well as music promotion. It will also focus on broadening the range of activities that musicians undertake within communities and will host a series of residencies across all EU countries. The first project involving the Academy will feature joint concerts by BFO and EUYO players in September 2024, as part of the Bridging Europe Festival in Brussels and Budapest, the capitals of the EU’s two 2024 Presidency countries, Belgium and Hungary.

Fischer’s appointment marks the end of Vasily Petrenko’s successful ten-year tenure as the EUYO’s Chief Conductor. Under Petrenko’s leadership, the Orchestra has seen significant growth in its standards and performances. The EUYO extends its heartfelt thanks to Maestro Petrenko for his invaluable contributions and looks forward to future collaborations, including a return to the Orchestra in summer 2025 for concerts in Grafenegg.

Iván Fischer, at 73, brings a wealth of experience and a distinguished career to his new role. He is renowned for his innovative approach to concert formats and his efforts to reform the structure and working methods of symphony orchestras. Fischer founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra in the mid-1980s, which has since become one of the most successful musical ensembles globally. His work with the Orchestra has included international tours and numerous recordings for Philips Classics and Channel Classics, earning him a reputation as one of the world’s leading orchestral conductors.

Fischer has also founded several festivals, including the Budapest Mahlerfest, the Bridging Europe festival, and the Vicenza Opera Festival. His contributions to international cultural relations were recognized by the World Economic Forum, which awarded him the Crystal Award.

Throughout his career, Fischer has held principal conductor positions with Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra, Opéra National de Lyon, and Konzerthausorchester Berlin, where he was later named conductor laureate. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam appointed him as honorary guest conductor after many years of collaboration. He is also a frequent guest conductor with the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic.

In addition to his conducting career, Fischer founded the Iván Fischer Opera Company (IFOC), which aims to create an organic unity between music and theater. IFOC productions, known for spatially integrating instrumentalists and singers, have been highly acclaimed in cities such as New York, Edinburgh, Abu Dhabi, Berlin, Geneva, and Budapest.

Fischer is also an active composer. His opera “The Red Heifer” garnered international attention, while his children’s opera “The Gruffalo” has seen numerous revivals in Berlin. His most frequently performed work, “Eine Deutsch-Jiddische Kantate,” has been performed and recorded in several countries.

Fischer’s contributions to music have been widely recognized. He is the founder of the Hungarian Mahler Society and a patron of the British Kodály Academy. He has received numerous awards, including the Gold Medal from the President of Hungary, the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French government, the Hungarian Kossuth Prize, the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award, and the Dutch Ovatie Prize. He is also an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music and an honorary citizen of Budapest.

The EUYO is excited about the future under Fischer’s leadership, anticipating a period of dynamic growth and artistic excellence. The Orchestra looks forward to the innovative projects and performances that will undoubtedly arise from this new collaboration.

Source: European Union Youth Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Konzerthausorchester Berlin

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