Ivan Fischer is founder and Music Director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra. The partnership between Iván Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra has proved to be one of the greatest success stories in the past three decades of classical music. Intense international touring and a series of acclaimed recordings for Philips Classics, later for Channel Classics have contributed to Iván Fischer's reputation as one of the world's most visionary and successful orchestra leaders.
He has developed and introduced new types of concerts, "cocoa-concerts" for young children, "Midnight Music" concerts for students, "surprise" concerts where the programme is not announced, "one forint concerts" where he talks to the audience, open-air concerts in Budapest attracting tens of thousands of people. He has founded several festivals, including a summer festival in Budapest on baroque music and the Budapest Mahlerfest which is also a forum for commissioning and presenting new compositions.
As a guest conductor Fischer works with the finest symphony orchestras of the world. He has been invited to the Berlin Philharmonic more than ten times, he leads every year two weeks of programs with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and appears with leading US symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra.
Earlier music director of Kent Opera and Lyon Opera, Principal Conductor of National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC, his numerous recordings have won several prestigious international prizes.
Ivan Fischer studied piano, violin, cello and composition in Budapest, continuing his education in Vienna in Professor Hans Swarowsky’s conducting class. Recently he has been also active as a composer: his works have been performed in the US, Holland, Hungary, Germany and Austria, and he staged successful opera performances.
Mr. Fischer is a founder of the Hungarian Mahler Society, and Patron of the British Kodály Academy. He received the Golden Medal Award from the President of the Republic of Hungary, and the Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum for his services to help international cultural relations. The French Government named him Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. In 2006 he was honored with the Kossuth Prize, Hungary’s most prestigious arts award. He is honorary citizen of Budapest. In 2011 he received the Royal Philharmonic Award and the Dutch Ovatie prize. In 2013 he was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music in London.
As of August 2011 Ivan Fischer is music director of the Konzerthaus Berlin and principal conductor of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin.