168-year-old Budapest Philharmonic Society celebrates with a world premiere

- October 27, 2021
Rico Saccani
Rico Saccani

The 168th festive anniversary concert of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra with Rico Saccani, the orchestra’s “principal guest conductor” with the grandiose works of Ravel, Bernstein, Gershwin with the world premiere of Zoltán Kovács’ work.

As on previous occasions, this year’s anniversary concert, which will again be open to the public, will also feature a performance of a composition by a Hungarian composer: this time the world premiere of Ludus luminis by Zoltán Kovács, who was awarded the Bartók-Pásztory Prize this year. The orchestra will be conducted by Rico Saccani (1952–), its former 8th president, on 10 November in a festive concert for large orchestra at the Palace of Arts.

Born in the United States to Italian parents, Saccani began his career as a pianist and after graduating as a conductor, gained experience as an assistant to Giusieppe Patané around the world. This was his first opportunity to try himself in Hungary, where he conducted the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra in 1985, and subsequently appeared several times as guest conductor of the Philharmonic.

In 1991, as Ferenc Bónis pointed out, the ensemble gave Saccani the title of “principal guest conductor”, and later, in 1997, the first professional symphony orchestra in Hungary elected him president. As the conductor of the Philharmonic, he led the orchestra out of its then crisis situation until 2005.

In 1994, before his appointment as president, Saccani wrote the following in the ensemble’s carefully guarded “Golden Book”, in which guest performers and conductors of the ensemble have left their signature and thoughts since the first half of the 20th century: “To my dear colleagues in the ranks of the Budapest Philharmonic, with fond memories. Looking forward to many musical moments together in the future.”

In addition to the Hungarian world premiere already mentioned, the concert will include Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major—with Zoltán Fejérvári’s piano solo—and other hits that may be familiar to the audience: Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from the West Side Story, and Gershwin’s An American in Paris.

Let’s celebrate the 168th anniversary of the Philharmonic Society together at Müpa Budapest on 10 November 2021.


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