Budapest Festival Orchestra stages musical protest

Budapest Festival Orchestra stages musical protest
(Image: BFZ - Budapesti Fesztiválzenekar / Budapest Festival Orchestra / Facebook)

9 May 2016

The Budapest Festival Orchestra has staged a musical demonstration after the city’s General Assembly voted to cut funding for the ensemble.

The cuts see the orchestra’s public funding slashed from 260 million forints (US$938,000) to 60 million forints (US$217,000).

In protest of the decision, German Bass-Baritone Hanno Mueller-Brachmann and the orchestra staged a performance of an aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute on Vörösmarty Square in central Budapest, at the end of which some members of the large crowd that had formed joined the orchestra with their own instruments.

“First and foremost, we are here to demonstrate that we really love Budapest and we know that Budapest, too, really loves the Budapest Festival Orchestra,” director of the orchestra, Iván Fischer, told the crowd.

Upon the announcement of the cuts, the Budapest Festival Orchestra issued a statement in which they expressed shock regarding the decision, asserting that the city’s leadership had not engaged them in discussions on the matter and warning that cuts would result in concerts being cancelled.

In contrast, Budapest Mayor István Tarlós stated today that he met with Mr Fischer in February to discuss issues with the funding, adding that the orchestra can only receive as much public funding as the city budget permits. Mr Tarlós highlighted that he and his cultural advisor had fought hard to secure funds for the orchestra, against the judgement of numerous councillors who felt that the ensemble should receive no funding at all.

The cuts have been met with significant consternation, especially given that the Hungarian Philharmonic Orchestra saw its public funding increased by some 350 million forints (US$1,264,000) this year.

Source: Daily News Hungary and Financial Times