Orchestra

MAV SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Artistic Direction
PÉTER CSABA Chief Conductor and Artistic Director
GERGELY KESSELYÁK Conductor
KOBAYASHI KEN-ICHIRO Honorary Guest Conductor

About the Orchestra


The MAV Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1945 by the Hungarian State Railways. Shortly after the Second World War, it established its name carrying a series of great concerts to the destroyed towns all over the country. As time passed, the orchestra developed a wide-ranging repertoire from baroque to contemporary music, and is currently ranked among the best professional ensembles in Hungary. On average, 50.000 people attend the concerts every year, but through the media, a lot more is reached.

The MAV Orchestra's concerts take place in the most respected concert halls of the country, like the Music Academy, the Palace of Arts, or the Italian Cultural Institute, which is the former headquarters of the Hungarian Parliament. Besides full-orchestra concerts, it regularly performs chamber music, youth concerts and participates in the famous Budapest Spring Festival as well.

Throughout its history, the orchestra established close connections with famous Hungarian and internationally renowned artists. In the past decades, the concerts of the Orchestra were conducted by János Ferencsik, Lamberto Gardelli, Kobayashi Ken-Ichiro, Franco Ferrara, Uri Mayer, Hans Swarowsky, Carlo Zecchi, Moshe Atzmon, Kurt Masur, Herbert Blomstedt, James Levine, Irwin Hoffman, Carlo Ponti Jr. and Yuri Simonov, to name a few.

Several renowned soloists have performed with the orchestra: Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, José Carreras, Kiri Te Kanawa, Lucia Aliberti, Lazar Berman, Jeanne-Marie Darré, Ruggiero Ricci, David Geringas, Jevgeni Bushkov, Ramzi Yassa, Dudu Fischer, Fujiko Hemming, Alexander Markov, Tamás Vásáry, Zoltán Kocsis, Dezső Ránki, Miklós Perényi, Jenő Jandó, Jeremy Menuhin, Roberto Díaz and many others.

The orchestra has performed in every European country, in many places across South America as well as in Lebanon, Hong-Kong, Japan, China and Oman. One of the most memorable appearances was a special concert in 1988 for Pope John Paul II. at his summer-residence in Castelgandolfo. Also a regular performer at Vienna's famous Musikverein.

The MAV Symphony Orchestra is the only Hungarian orchestra to participate in the legendary Three Tenors Production in 1999. It took place in the Tokyo Dome with 32,000 people and members of the Imperial Family attending. The orchestra performed on Pavarotti’s Farewell Concert Tour, too – over the course of two years, they presented ten concerts with the bel canto tenor star in Europe. In previous seasons, the orchestra performed with world-famous opera stars such as Kiri Te Kanawa, José Carreras and Placido Domingo, and also with Gabriel Yared, the renowned Lebanese composer at his world premiere night at the Beiteddine Festival.

The Orchestra's CD recordings are available everywhere by the biggest labels (HUNGAROTON, NAXOS, SONY, TOCCATA CLASSICS). A recent recording received the Critic’s Choice Award from the American Record Guide in 2014.

In 2013, the Orchestra recorded the Hungarian National Anthem composed by Ferenc Erkel by request of the National Olympic Committee. From this time onwards, this version is to be heard during the olympic games throughout the world.

The Orchestra has a long-established friendship with Kobayashi Ken-Ichiro, the legendary conductor who won the first International Conducting Competition of the Hungarian Television (MTV) in the spring of 1974. The MAV Symphony Orchestra was the first orchestra which he conducted abroad, thus began his international career. The Master has a special bond with the Orchestra ever since. He conducted dozens of concerts in different series, repeatedly conducted the MAV Symphony Orchestra in Japan, perpetuating the reputation of our country and the Orchestra’s founder. Our ensemble preserves this friendship among the most precious treasures. As a sign of mutual appreciation, from season 2014-15 Kobayashi is welcomed as Honorary Guest Conductor on the pulpit.