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Budapest Strings Chamber Orchestra


The Budapest Strings Chamber Orchestra gave its first concert in 1977. The company, formulated from the students of Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, invited Károly Botvay to be their artistic director, while from 1986 the concertmaster was Béla Bánfalvi, who filled this position for 25 years. The ensemble achieved its first international acclaim in 1982 as the award winner of the Belgrad International Chamber Orchestra Competition. Since 1983 the orchestra has been giving concerts in Hungary and abroad, nowadays performing within the programmes of several individual season ticket and concert series at Liszt Academy of Music, at the Palace of Arts and at BMC and it is a permanent guest to concert halls of major cities in the country.
The chamber orchestra established International Haydn Festival of Fertőd-Eszterháza in 1995, which has been organised each year ever since, featuring Hungarian and foreign artists, including David Grimal, Jenő Jandó, Lajos Lencsés, Zoltán Kocsis, Maurice Steger, Miklós Perényi, Reinhold Friedrich, Andrea Rost among others.
The ensemble has also recorded its repertoire, partnered with companies such as Hungaroton, Nuova Era, Naxos, Laserlight and Capriccio. Under an exclusive contract with Delta Music, they recorded over 40 CD recordings.
In 2001 the orchestra received Hungary’s highest-ranking professional recognition, the Bartók-Pásztori Award, and in 2006 the Art Award of the Hungarian Academy of Science.
In addition to the permanent chamber music repertoire, in their concerts they often perform Baroque, classical and romantic music pieces and symphonies, complemented by woodwinds. The ensemble places an emphasis on contemporary Hungarian composers’ works, often playing pieces specially composed for the orchestra. The Budapest Strings finds it especially important to pass down the musical experience to the younger generations (Opera playhouse season ticket) and an assistance granted to talented youth musicians to start their careers, (the orchestra regularly cooperates with the art schools of several districts of Budapest).
The ensemble celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017, and the following year, it launched its second festival, Óbuda Music Corner Festival, to be organised each year in the orchestra’s home Óbudai Társaskör.
The concert master of Budapest Strings is János Pilz, awarded with the Liszt Award,
and its founder and artistic leader is Károly Botvay, awarded with the Kossuth Award.