The MAV Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1945 by the Hungarian State Railways – one of the most significant companies in Hungary. The orchestra currently consists of ninety professional musicians. The MAV Symphony Orchestra is ranked among the best professional orchestras in Hungary.
In recent decades the orchestra has developed a wide-ranging repertoire from music of the Baroque era to works by contemporary composers.
The MAV Symphony Orchestra presents its subscription concerts in the most respected concert halls of Hungary: the Liszt Music Academy and the Palace of Arts. Besides full-orchestra concerts it regularly performs chamber music and youth concerts as well.Each year the MAV Symphony Orchestra participates in one of the most renowned artistic festivals in Europe, the Budapest Spring Festival.
Throughout its history, the orchestra has established close connections with famous Hungarian and internationally-renowned conductors and soloists.
In the past decades the concerts of the MAV Symphony Orchestra were conducted by János Ferencsik, Lamberto Gardelli, Kobayashi Ken-Ichiro, Franco Ferrara, Uri Mayer, Hans Swarowsky, Carlo Zecchi, Moshe Atzmon, Kurt Masur, Herbert Blomstedt, James Levine, Irwin Hoffman, Carlo Ponti Jr. and Yuri Simonov, to name but a few.
Several renowned soloists have performed with the orchestra: Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, José Carreras, Kiri Te Kanawa, Lucia Aliberti, Lazar Berman, Jeanne-Marie Darré, Endre Gertler, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Ruggiero Ricci, David Geringas, Jevgeni Bushkov, Ramzi Yassa, Dudu Fischer, Fujiko Hemming, Alexander Markov, Tamás Vásáry, Zoltán Kocsis, Dezső Ránki, Miklós Perényi, Jenő Jandó, Jeremy Menuhin, Roberto Díaz and many others.
The high quality of the orchestra has often been acknowledged during its tours in several foreign countries. The orchestra has performed in every country of Europe as well as in Lebanon, Hong Kong, Japan, China and Oman. Performances have taken place at many of the most important and respected concert halls, such as the Musikvereinsaal in Vienna, the Konzertgebouw in Amsterdam, Suntory Hall in Tokyo and Shanghai Oriental Art Center.
The orchestra has also participated at several European festivals: in Lourdes, Vienna, Thessaloniki, Rome, Assisi. A highlight of these appearances was the MAV Symphony Orchestra’s 1988 special concert for Pope John Paul II at his summer-residence in Castelgandolfo.
MAV Symphony Orchestra is the only Hungarian orchestra to participate in the legendary Three Tenors Production – this was very successfully performed in January, 1999 in the Tokyo Dome for 32,000 people and the members of the Japanese Imperial family attending. The orchestra performed on Pavarotti’s Farewell Concert Tour in Europe – over the course of two years they presented ten concerts with the bel canto tenor star.
The MAV Symphony Orchestra has been the resident symphony orchestra at the highly respected Beiteddine Festival in Lebanon. In previous seasons, the orchestra has performed with world-famous opera stars such as Kiri Te Kanawa, José Carreras and Placido Domingo, and also with Gabriel Yared, the renowned Lebanese composer at his world premiere night at Beiteddine Festival.