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Ivan Fischer (b1951)

Born into a musical family which includes his brother, the conductor Adam Fischer, Iván Fischer studied the piano, violin and cello at the Béla Bartók Conservatory in Budapest. Between 1971 and 1974 he was a conducting pupil of Hans Swarowsky in Vienna and also worked with Nikolaus Harnoncourt on period performance practice in Salzburg during 1975. Although he had previously been a prizewinner at the Florence Conducting Competition in 1974, Fischer’s professional conducting career was effectively launched when he won the Rupert Foundation Conducting Competition in London in 1976.

He was soon invited to direct the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London and to conduct at the Zürich Opera. In 1979 he was appointed chief conductor of the Northern Sinfonia of England, a post that he held until 1982, and the following year he founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra. This drew together many of the best orchestral musicians in Hungary and enjoyed unusually extended rehearsal periods; within a few years it developed a reputation as one of Hungary’s finest orchestras and was invited to play at major festivals and concert halls throughout Europe and America. In addition, from 1984 until 1989, Iván Fischer was chief conductor of Kent Opera, leaving only when the company’s funding was terminated by the Arts Council of England and it had to cease operations.



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