Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra
The Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the country’s leading symphonic orchestras, will celebrate its centenary in the spring of 2023.
Following the eras marked by the leadership of János Ferencsik and Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi, a new chapter in the history of the orchestra began in 1997, when Zoltán Kocsis was named chief music director. Over the course of the next two decades, the orchestra performed not only the classics, but also important works previously missing from the repertoire and, with the versatility worthy of a renewed national symphonic ensemble, introducing its audience to the Hungarian music of the recent past and today. During the period after Kocsis’s death, from March 2017 to August 2020, the post of music director was held by the Liszt Award-winning Zsolt Hamar, who had contributed to the orchestra for many years as first permanent conductor while also pursuing a serious international career.
Since the fall of 2022 and the start of the ensemble’s jubilee season, the musicians have been guided by their new General Music Director, György Vashegyi.
Vashegyi has taught at the Liszt Academy since 1992, currently serving as an associate professor and director of the Early Music Departmental Group founded under his leadership in 2010. In recognition of his work, he received the Liszt Award in 2008 and the Knight’s Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit, Civil Division in 2015. In 2021, the French state awarded him the honorary title of Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Over the past decades, the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra has given nearly 330 foreign concerts while touring in some 40 countries. During Kocsis’s tenure, they performed at such renowned venues and festivals as New York’s Avery Fisher Hall, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, the Megaron in Athens, Bucharest’s Enescu Festival, the Colmar and Canary Islands festivals and Bogotá’s Beethoven Festival; In 2011, on the occasion of the Liszt bicentenary year, they played at the Bozar Centre in Brussels and at the Vatican, at a concert held in honour of Pope Benedict XVI. The ensemble pays regular visits to France, Japan, Germany, Romania, Spain, Slovakia and Slovenia, among other countries. In recent years, they have performed in Bogotá, Istanbul, South Korea, China and Switzerland.
In January 2023, they will tour Japan again under the leadership of Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi.