On The Avenue

The Budapest Festival Orchestra Strikes a Chord

by Wendy Sy Photographed by Barry Williams/AnnieWatt.com
Monday, February 6, 2017
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The Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO) revisited and revived the symphonies of Beethoven during their winter performance at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall. Maestro Iván Fischer, founder and musical director of the BFO, conducted the program, which started promptly at 3 p.m. with Symphony No. 1.

Following, a grand piano was rolled onto center stage for celebrated musician Richard Goode, who hit the keys in an emotional performance of Piano Concerto No. 4 with the orchestra.

The program closed off with Symphony No. 5. Throughout the four movements, tension escalated as the music grew faster, louder and stronger. Suddenly, the double doors on both sides of the stage glided opened and students from the Juilliard School and Bard College swiftly ran in with their instruments, joining the orchestra to play in the finale.

The afternoon followed with cocktails and dinner at the Grand Promenade. While guests enjoyed the main course, Maestro Iván Fischer took the mic and expressed his gratitude as well as excitement for the performance. “I have to tell you that the idea of students joining at the end only came up in my mind three days ago,” he says. “We actually first did it in Budapest but that was also last minute. It was a huge success.” The symphony, much like Beethoven’s life, was full of emotion—from the dramatic C-minor opening to the jubilant C-major coda of the last movement. During dessert, associate conductor of the BFO Vladimir Fanshil says, “The finale represents a revolutionary march of people coming together.”

Attendees included gala chairwoman Sylvia Hemingway, honorary chair Daisy Soros and the Friends of the Budapest Orchestra board of directors Stephen Benko (chairman), Aaron Feinstein, Kathryn Livingston Forgan, Stephanie Stokes and Andrew Komaromi and Heidi Lee Komaromi.


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