In 1983, conductor Iván Fischer and pianist Zoltán Kocsis created this new orchestra that soon became internationally acclaimed.
By 1992, the organization had become the permanent orchestra of Budapest. The Budapest Festival Orchestra has appeared at leading music festivals throughout the world (Salzburg, Lucerne, Paris, London, Bruxelles, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, etc.) and has performed at such renowned concert halls as the Viennese Musikvereinsaal and Konzerthaus, Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Théatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Its wide-ranging repetoire includes music from the Classical, early and late Romantic, Impressionist, and Modern periods, with vivid interpretations of modern Hungarian composers such as Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály, and György Kurtág. Guest artists regularly appearing with the B.F.O. include Georg Solti, Sándor Végh, Yehudi Menuhin, Gidon Kremer, András Schiff, Eliahu Inbal, Kurt Sanderling, Marek Janowski, Agnes Baltsa, Pinchas Steinberg, David Zinman, and many others. The orchestra has also participated in several opera projects, including Mozart's Così fan tutte in 1992 and Idomeneo in 1993, Turco in Italia and Orfeo ed Euridice in 1996. In 1995, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bartók's death, the orchestra created a cycle of three concerts of the composer's works that was performed in Budapest, New York, Paris, Cologne, Frankfurt, and Brussels. The B.F.O. also presents a chamber music concert series, a Baroque festival every summer, and concerts for children. The B.F.O. also maintains a post-graduate orchestral academy for young musicians.