The National Philharmonic Orchestra has been one of Hungary’s leading symphony orchestras for over ninety years. Outstanding conductors including János Ferencsik and Kobayashi Ken-Ichiro were succeeded in 1997 by Zoltán Kocsis as chief music director. In almost two decades the National Philharmonic Orchestra underwent renewal. It is one of the top interpreters of the work of Béla Bartók, and the albums of the Bartók New Series have won numerous accolades in Hungary and abroad. The orchestra perform not only classics but also numerous other important works previously missing from the repertoire, many of which require a large orchestral apparatus. It attaches great importance to introducing contemporary Hungarian works to the audiences. It has given many popular chamber music concerts and hosted events for young people.
The orchestra’s concerts have featured world-famous soloists and conductors. It supports young musicians recently embarked on an international career. In recent decades, the National Philharmonic Orchestra has appeared in the greatest venues and festivals around the world, including the Avery Fisher Hall in New York, the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Birmingham Symphony Hall, the Megaron in Athens, Bozar Centre in Brussels, the Enescu Festival in Bucharest, the Beethoven Festival in Bogotá, as well as the Colmar and Canary Island Festivals. In the past two decades, the National Philharmonic Orchestra has given more than 330 concerts in some 40 countries.
In March 2017 Zsolt Hamar, Liszt laureate and holder of the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic, took over at the helm of the National Philharmonic Orchestra.