Ivan Fischer and Budapest Festival Orchestra’s concerts promoting tolerance

Posted on: June 11, 2018

Recently, conductor Iván Fischer and musicians of the Budapest Festival Orchestra played “in a derelict synagogue in rural Hungary, which had been empty ever since its once-thriving Jewish community was deported to the death camps in … the Second World War,” writes Margarette Driscoll in Thursday’s (6/7) Telegraph (U.K.). The event was “one of a series of concerts over the past three years in such ruined buildings, which are both a tribute to the dead and an elegant protest against the rise of far-Right politics…. On Tuesday, Fischer, 67, will be giving his commemorative concert—including pieces from Felix Mendelssohn and improvisations of traditional Klezmer music—in London, at the invitation of Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger, whose congregation at the West London Synagogue is twinned with Budapest.… Here, the row sparked by anti-Semitism in the Labour party continues to smolder…. At each Hungarian concert … a rabbi briefly tells the story of the building and the Jewish community who once lived there. At the end, members of the audience are asked for any memories they have of their former friends and neighbors…. ‘Though some of the stories we hear are heart-breaking, my experience is that these are extremely happy and harmonious events,’ says Fischer.”

Posted June 11, 2018