When Iván Fischer founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra more than 30 years ago he made a personal dream become true. Core of the philosophy of the orchestra is the total absence of daily routine. It is about taking the risk, the initiative and freedom to do things differently. Every concert is therefore a joyful discovery of uncharted territory, a journey to new horizons in music. It feels unexpected and surprising as if it was played for the very first time. The Festival Orchestra is driven by an openness towards the new and the unknown, by curiosity and attention to details. It is the innovative approach to music, the musician’s dedication and their permanent strive for excellence that made Budapest Festival Orchestra the youngest of the top 10 ranked ensembles in the world.
Continuing his award-winning cycle of works by Felix Mendelssohn, Sir John Eliot Gardiner leads the LSO, his Monteverdi Choir and three talented young actors from the Guildhall in a landmark performance of 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream', which was performed as part of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. To mark the celebrations, Gardiner produced a special version of the work featuring some cuts to the original movements that, in his words, "remove all of the music relating to the Mechanicals and thus focus on the world of the fairies and the human lovers". Mendelssohn, who adored Shakespeare’s writings, composed his concert overture based on 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' in 1827 aged 17, after having read a German translation of the play. The overture was immediately acclaimed as a masterpiece and quickly became a popular favourite throughout Europe. Years later in 1843 he was asked by the King of Prussia to provide a score for an entire production: 14 short works based on themes and moods from the original overture, with a broadly romantic sound although classical in style and structure.