nemzeti filharmonikus zenekar foto nfz bea kallosHungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra (photo: Bea Kallos)symphony orchestra 

 

 

 

 

 

 

„ Zoltán Kocsis’s conducting may seem to be too “theatrical” for the purists but others sure found his expressive body language enjoyable with which he can manipulate his orchestra in exploiting their best abilities. This is especially true for the violins – the Hungarian spirit obliges –, which makes music float in an appealing pure and transparent way. It appears that the orchestra speaks to us, their playing is so exact and expressive.”  –  PaySud, 29. 07. 2012.

The Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra celebrated their 90th anniversary in 2013. Since 1997 Zoltán Kocsis has been the General Music Director of the Ensemble residing in the Palace of Arts, Budapest, which is the main venue of their concerts as well. Attesting to the significance, mission and performance of the Orchestra, in 1998 the Ministry of National Cultural Heritage declared it, together with the National Choir, to be an outstanding national institution.

In recent years the Orchestra has received numerous invitations abroad. Since 1997 it has given over 200 concerts in 40 countries, from Avery Fisher Hall in New York, Suntory Hall in Tokyo to the Birmingham Symphony Hall, the Megaron Musicos in Athens and the Canary Island Festival. The critics of the prestigious online musical review ConcertoNet presented the Orchestra the Lully Award for the best concert of the season for its New York concert in February 2003. In 2011 they appeared in Brussels at the Bozar Centre and in the Vatican, performing to Pope Benedict XVI. The same year the Orchestra went on a long tour in Germany. Later this year they were guests of honour at the Cracow Mahler Festival. In 2012 in two rounds they toured the neighbouring countries such as Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania and Serbia with significant Hungarian population. On each concert the program included a piece from one of the famous composers of the hosting country. In March, 2013 the Orchestra took part in the Bogota Beethoven Festival. In 2014 they gave numerous concerts in Japan and South Korea.

Each year they engage 10-15 such internationally acclaimed soloists or conductors as Ingrid Fliter, Michail Jurowski, Leonid Kuzmin, Alexei Volodin, Michail Agrest, Howard Williams, Gilbert Varga, Segei Nakarjakov, Jörg Widman, Wolfgang Schöne, Andrea Rost, Gidon Kremer, Sergei Krylov, Vadim Repin, Natalia Gutman, Yuya Wang and Miklós Perényi.

In the Spring of 2003 they produced a CD containing Zoltán Kocsis’s orchestrations of works by Debussy and Ravel, which was the first recording of the renewed National Symphony Orchestra and which instantly won the “Best Hungarian Classical Album of the Year” Award, founded by the critics of the Hungarian musical review Gramofon. Published in February 2004, their second album featured three works by Bartók – Concerto, the Dance Suite and Hungarian Peasant Songs. The recording received numerous awards at home and abroad, including the MIDEM in Cannes, presented to the best classical orchestral recording of the year.

The Orchestra provided a fitting celebration to the Liszt bicentenary in 2011 including a Liszt album published by Warner Classics featuring the great oratorical works and some of the maestro’s rarely-heard pieces.

Zoltán Kocsis has been the Artistic Director of the Bartók New Series project, a new edition of the complete works of Bartók, launched in December 2006 and published by the Hungaroton Classic label. The recordings completed so far have received wide critical acclaim in Hungary and internationally. The second instalment in the Bartók New Series (Kossuth Symphony, The Wooden Prince) won another MIDEM Classic Award. The other albums in the series have been unequivocally successful. Outstandingly, 23 critics of the BBC Music Magazine voted No. 10 in the Bartók New Series (Music for Strings, Percussion and Cenesta, Divertimento, Hungarian Sketches) as "Record of the Month”. Album No. 9 in the Bartók New Series (Violin Concerto, Violin Rhapsodies) received the German Critics Award in 2011. This album was also a nominee for the International Music Award.

 

 

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