Iván Fischer is founder and music director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and honorary conductor of Berlin’s Konzerthausorchester and Konzerthaus, where he was music director from 2012 to 2018. In 2018 he became artistic director of the Vicenza Opera Festival. Recently, he has gained a reputation as a composer, with works performed in the United States, The Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary, Germany, and Austria.
The Budapest Festival Orchestra’s frequent worldwide tours and series of critically acclaimed, award-winning 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.
A regular presence on the podium with the world’s leading orchestras, Mr. Fischer has guest conducted the Berlin Philharmonic more than ten times and spends two weeks each year with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He is a frequent guest of The Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, and was principal conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., from 2006 to 2010. Mr. Fischer has conducted the Vienna Staatsoper, London’s Royal Opera House, and Opéra de Paris, and the opera houses of Zurich, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Brussels, Berlin, and Budapest. He has held music director posts with the Kent Opera and the Opéra national de Lyon. Since 2013 he has worked exclusively with the Ivan Fischer Opera Company, which he has directed in staged concerts in Budapest, New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, London, and Bruges, as well as at the Abu Dhabi and Edinburgh Festivals.
Iván Fischer is a founder of the Hungarian Mahler Society and patron of the British Kodály Academy. He has received the Golden Medal Award from the President of the Republic of Hungary, the Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum for his services in promoting international cultural relations, and France’s Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. Other honors include Hungary’s Kossuth Prize (2006), Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award (2011), Hungary’s Prima Primissima Prize, Dutch Ovatie Prize, Honorary Membership in London’s Royal Academy of Music (2013), Abu Dhabi Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement (2015), and Association of Music Critics of Argentina’s award for Best Foreign Conductor (2016).
Mr. Fischer studied piano, violin, cello, and composition in Budapest before continuing his education in Vienna and Salzburg, where he studied conducting under Hans Swarowsky and Nikolaus Harnoncourt.