Fischer blames Hungarian government for major orchestra shakedownmain
A gloomy press release from the Budapest Festival Orchestra:
Cutbacks at the Budapest Festival Orchestra
The Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO) has learned that it will only receive HUF 200
million in additional grant from the Hungarian government designed to replace the
discontinued corporate tax grant, which accounts for less than 50% of the average
corporate tax subsidy the orchestra was granted in previous years.
Having planned its next seasons in reliance on this compensation and based on the
average of the previous years, the BFO is now obliged to cancel several projects to be able
to maintain stable operation. The main consideration for selecting events to be cancelled
was the possibility of late cancellation.
As a result, new opera productions, a four-year-long collaboration with the Geneva opera
house, and a tour of the Baltic states will not take place from next year. Some of the
orchestra’s community outreach and educational programs in Hungary such as the
“Choose your Instrument” in schools, the See What You Hear! film competition for high
school students, the BFO Reaches Out! project, church concerts, chamber music concerts
at elderly homes and “Music Castle” concerts for underprivileged children will also be
In the absence of stable and predictable financial background, Martin Hoffmann, the
Budapest Festival Orchestra’s managing director, has resigned and the Board of Directors
is searching for a replacement. The BFO staff is also forced to make staff cuts.
All over the world, the Budapest Festival Orchestra is regarded as the pride and the most
successful cultural ensemble of Hungary, a unique ambassador of the country’s culture and
reputation. The BFO hopes that the restoration of its grants on previous years’ level will
facilitate the continuation of the programs suspended as of January 2020, in particular the
hugely popular outreach and youth programs.