Ivan Fischer is 70

Ivan Fischer is 70


norman lebrecht

January 19, 2021

The Hungarian conductor is having an online 70th birthday on Wednesday with three orchestras, the Budapest Festival Orchestra which he co-founded, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Berlin’s Konzerthausorchester.

You can watch the concert from 2030 central Europe time here. 

Elyen, Ivan!



  • JussiB says:

    I heard Ivan Fischer conduct his Budapest Festival Orchestra in Orange County CA 2 years ago. Great concert and encores. Happy birthday maestro!

    • Yes all the best for the great Ivan the real (even if it’s not offical) muscial director of the RCO today. And the offical musical director of the marvelous Budapest Festival Orchestra

  • Nick says:

    His Budapest Festival Orchestra model probably represents the future of classical music

  • JS says:

    I’m guessing that last word wants to be “Éljen, Ivan”? 🙂

    Long life to one of the most paradigm shifter artist in this stubborn world!

  • Steven Honigberg says:

    He did not ingratiate himself to the National Symphony Orchestra’s 100 members some ten years ago even though we had many successful concerts together in Washington and on tour. After his departure he refused to come guest conduct us at the venerable Kennedy Center even though there was a standing invitation. Looking back, his time in DC was bleak finding him out of sorts, a bit disgruntled. Was there a problem with his 5 star hotel? The political atmosphere of DC overwhelming? The outstanding food in this city disagreed with him? It was good enough for Dorati, Rostropovich, Slatkin, Eschenbach and Noseda (all Music Directors who love(d) DC), in addition to Copland, Bernstein, Maazel, de Burgos (regular guest conductors) Ozawa, Solti – but not Fischer?

    • Grumpy Dude says:

      Maybe he did not like the orchestra’s attitude? Or its inability to follow his ideas? Maybe the problem is not one of the most visionary conductors of today, not the food or the hotels in DC (ye, how funny, ha ha) but YOU and other entitled but not so good members of your orchestra. Btw, out of curiosity, have all other 99 musicians in the orchestra gave you a mandate to speak on their behalf or are you just being an as@@e?

      • BruceB says:

        Not to make assumptions, but to show that this kind of thing is possible:

        We once had a music director that the orchestra was not happy with. The musicians really really wanted someone else who didn’t get the job, so they were angry at the new guy before he even showed up. (I had just been hired during the middle of the search process and had no opinion of either one yet.)

        They would do things like, if it was unclear whether an F# should be a single- or double-sharp, half the first violins would play it one way and half would play it the other. The conductor would stop and go over it again. It would sound the same. He (not realizing that his job, in their view, was to teach them their notes) would look at the section like “why is this still bad?” and they would look at him like “when are you going to fix it?” …but it would take about 4 repetitions before anyone (even the concertmaster) would ask a question out loud. Naturally the musicians’ view was that the poor working relationship with the conductor was entirely his fault.

        (There are a few of us who still do this with conductors we don’t like.)

        That said, could Fischer’s poor relationship with the NSO have been due to a poor relationship with the management? That’s a possibility, if he got along with the musicians (unclear from Stephen’s comment) but never wanted to come back.

  • E says:

    Listening now…a splendid way to celebrate 70! The first piece is a beauty…is the first part
    perhaps a lullaby? Long life to you, Ivan, and many more evenings of music-making.