The Budapest Festival Orchestra, directed and conducted by legendary Maestro Iván Fischer, performed at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall on Feb. 5, 2017. This was followed by a Gala dinner Chaired by Sylvia Hemingway and Honorary Chair Daisy Soros, along with the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Budapest Festival Orchestra (FBFO) including: Susan Bender, Aaron Feinstein, Kathryn Livingston Forgan, Emese Tardy-Green, Andrew and Heidi Lee Komaromi, Kati Marton, Aniko Gaal Schott, Stephanie Stokes, and David Tobey.
Board Chairman Stephen E. Benko welcomed guests including Consul General Dr. Ferenc Kumin, Ambassador Colleen Bell, Ambassador Donald Blinken and Vera Blinken, Cece Goldwater, Stanley H. Rumbough, and Gianluigi and Adrienne Vittadini to hear a performance by the orchestra the New York Times wrote might be “the best in the world.”
Famous for his unconventional interpretations that play with everything from staging to tempos, Fischer approaches Beethoven like no one else. Fischer and his “consistently glorious” Budapest Festival Orchestra (New York Times) presented Beethoven’s Symphony No.1, Piano Concerto No. 4, and Symphony No. 5 to a enraptured audience. To conclude, the maestro invited 40 students from the Julliard School and Bard College onto the stage, who joined the orchestra as they completed the symphony, adding jubilation to the grand finale.
Following the performance, guests including Shea Arender, Michele Busiri-Vici, Stefan Englert, Richard Goode, R. Couri Hay, Maryanne Horwath, Cheri Kaufman, Noel V. Lateef, Terez Rowley, Nicholas & Kristina Ratut, Christine Schott & George Ledes, Laine Siklos, Cristina Verger, and Si Zentner, headed to the grand promenade for a cocktail hour and gala dinner.
During the dinner, Stephen Benko rose to thank Fischer for his incredible performance, after which the maestro made a speech thanking attendees and the FBFO for their 20 years of support and service and mentioning some of the upcoming activities and projects of the orchestra.