Magic on stage

24 August 2021
The objectives of the International Eucharistic Congresses are to serve the evangelization mission, to strengthen in faith the individuals and the communities, while offering an opportunity for the organising country to introduce itself to the world.

The Congress weekdays offer a large variety of events, including superb concerts, amongst others the performance of the world famous and well recognised Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra.

Death and birth

The history of the orchestra goes back to a tragic event. Senior Sándor Járóka, soloist and the King of the Gypsy Primates (Gypsy Primate is a first gypsy violinist and leader) of the era died. At his funeral in 1985, his fellow musicians gathered to bid farewell. Given the gypsy traditions, how could it happen otherwise than a musician is to be accompanied on his last journey with music. There and then the idea was born that these musicians should come together not only for sad events, but rather to play music together on other occasions as well. Eventually a large orchestra has been formed.

A lengthy half a year of preparation

The preparatory and organizational works were executed by László Berki, Tivadar Mészáros and Lajos Boros. Finally on November 2, 1985 under the official name of “Budapest Gypsy Orchestra National Cultural Association” an orchestra was founded. It was later only that this musical community has been renamed for Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra (popularly known as 100-member Gypsy Orchestra) upon the “baptism” of its musicians.

A world famous patron

Rehearsals of the emerging orchestra were repeatedly visited by the world famous Hungarian pianist, György Cziffra. The gypsy origin pianist became the lifetime long Honorary President of the Association. It was the Budapest Spring Festival when the 100-member Orchestra had its first concert in 1986 in the Congress Centre. A sold-out one! Since their debut they have been on a non-stop successful flight.

Over a thousand concerts

During the past 35 years the Orchestra performed more than a thousand concerts. Never ever an invitation has been rejected, they gave concerts in culture houses in the tiniest villages up to a number of large and famous concert halls around the world. The Orchestra’s musicians are real messengers of both Hungarian and Gypsy music, and strive to bridge the gap between the diverse social classes through the universal language of music.

Remarkable repertoire

The Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra cares for and performs both traditional and modern sounds. They were even listed in the collection of Hungarikums in 2014. No matter how surprising, the “100-member Gypsy Orchestra” consists of 138 members.

On top of the world fame

Magic happens when they start playing. The audience of the Lisbon World Exhibition Opening Ceremony was incredibly fascinated. In Cartago, at the 45th International Music Festival an audience of fifteen thousand celebrated the bursting success of the Orchestra. In 2009 in Tirgu Mures (Romania) at the Palace of Concert the enthusiastic audience greeted them with a huge ovation and teary eyes.

In Paris, in the Theatre des Champs Elysées they performed 55 shows between 2002 and 2014 with huge success. The Orchestra toured around France and Monaco each year in a row from 1994, and gave concerts on stages in nearly all the large and small cities. The Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra performed in a co-production with the ExperiDance, and their show “FERGETEGES” brought down the house.

An orchestra in the Guinness Book of Records

The Orchestra is the proud owner of a large number of awards. In 2000 they won the Hungarian Heritage Prize, and even the same year they were also listed in the Guinness Book of Records. Throughout the years since their existence the Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra published 21 CDs, 5 DVDs, out of which 8 and 14 have become platinum and golden discs respectively. Several radio and television recordings have been made about them, and they won the Standard Prize of the Hungarian Radio, along with many professional recognitions of domestic and international festivals.

The future generation

It is an extremely great honour to become a member of the Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra. The future generation’s tutoring has been going on since 2008 in an organised form, when Nándor Farkas Beke, President-Manager founded the “100-member Gypsy Orchestra’s Junior Orchestra.” The 25 member Junior Section was set up with the aim to develop the future generation and over the time these young talents could form the backbone of the orchestra. The young musicians acquire the tricks of music from the violin soloists of the Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra in the course of special rehearsal sessions. Besides they perform as an independent Orchestra as well, they have already published their first CD.

Don’t miss this fantastic evening in the Erkel Theatre!

The Budapest Gypsy Orchestra will be on show on September 8, at 20:00 in the Erkel Theatre. The concert is subject to ticket purchase, which can be done via the IEC website registration page.

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