Iván Fischer is the founder and music director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and honorary conductor of Berlin’s Konzerthaus and Konzerthausorchester, after six years serving as music director of the Konzerthaus Berlin (2012–18). 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 acclaimed recordings — released first by Philips Classics and later by Channel Classics — have contributed to Mr. 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.
Mr. Fischer has appeared as guest conductor with the Berlin Philharmonic more than ten times, and he spends two weeks annually with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He is a frequent guest of The Cleveland Orchestra and New York Philharmonic, and was principal conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC, 2006–10. He has conducted operas in the Vienna Staatsoper, Paris Opéra, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as well as in Zurich, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Brussels, Berlin, and Budapest. He has held music director posts with both Kent Opera and Opéra National de Lyon. Since 2013, he has worked exclusively with the Iván Fischer Opera Company, with which he has directed a number of staged concerts in Budapest, New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, London, and Bruges, and at the Abu Dhabi and Edinburgh Festivals.
He is a founder of the Hungarian Mahler Society, patron of the British Kodály Academy, and recipient of Hungary’s Golden Medal Award, Kossuth Prize, Prima Primissima Prize, Dutch Ovatie Prize, World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award, Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award, Abu Dhabi Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement, and Association of Music Critics of Argentina’s award for Best Foreign Conductor. He is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and honorary member of London’s the Royal Academy of Music.
Iván Fischer studied piano, violin, cello, and composition in Budapest, before continuing his education in Vienna and Salzburg, studying conducting under Hans Swarowsky and Nikolaus Harnoncourt.