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Iván Fischer, who was born into a family of musicians in 1951 in Budapest, studied piano, violin, cello, and composition in his native city before completing his training as a conductor with Hans Swarowsky and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. After starting his professional career in Britain, he founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra in 1983, which he then led to international renown and of which he is still artistic director. He has also served as general music director of the Opéra de Lyon and principal conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. From 2012 to 2018, he helmed the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra, which later appointed him honorary conductor. As a guest conductor, Fischer is primarily associated with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the New York Philharmonic, and the Cleveland Orchestra. He has been engaged as an opera conductor by the Vienna Staatsoper, the Royal Opera House in London, the Opéra national de Paris, and numerous other renowned companies. Fischer is also active as a stage director and has presented productions of Mozart operas as well as staged concerts. He founded the Vicenza Opera Festival in 2018. Fischer has moreover been a creative force in developing innovative concert formats, as in his invention of cocoa concerts for toddlers, midnight concerts for students, surprise concerts without a pre-announced program, and a series in which the audience is seated amid the orchestra. As a composer, Fischer has written chamber music, choral works, the music theater piece The Red Heifer, and the children’s opera The Gruffalo. Iván Fischer was awarded the Kossuth Prize, Hungary’s most significant cultural award, in 2006 and, in 2011, the Royal Philharmonic Society Award. He is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music, and an honorary citizen of Budapest.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 26 August 1986 with the Budapest Festival Orchestra in works by Liszt as well as Schubert.