Pannon Philharmonic

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History of the Orchestra

Pannon Philharmonic (Pannon Filharmonikusok)

The Symphonic Orchestra of Pécs, now called Pannon Filharmonikusok founded in 1811 and institutionalized in 1984 has been a key representative of the musical culture of the Transdanube region of Hungary for 200 years. The institution has been renewed in 2003 and aims at creating high quality, interesting and innovative classical music productions. The institutional revival also meant artistic and organizational innovation. The introduction of a more detailed professional preparation system, the programs also including contemporary musical compositions and responding to cultural as well as social demands and the high quality setup of creative individual projects all resulted in the raise of the professional level.

The organizational innovation is the result of the work of Zsolt Horváth trombonist and economist as director. Thanks to the reorganization carried out by him two orchestras with a clear cut profile have been established within the institution and this is unique in Hungary: a concert orchestra and a chamber symphonic orchestra enabling both of these orchestras to reach a higher level of quality. The application of quality marketing tools equalling the high professional quality, the introduction of new projects and the active participation in the cultural and social network of the orchestra result in effective cooperation, colourful visibility and the ability to react quickly to the challenges. The Pannon Philharmonic is a priority pillar of the project Pécs 2010 European Capital of Culture.
The results of the professional development of the Pannon Philharmonic with its 73 members are recognized by both the Hungarian and the international music critics. It is a regular guest of the Budapest Spring Festival and works together with such renowned Hungarian and international guest musicians as Andrea Rost, Zoltán Kocsis or Maxim Vengerov. After the renewal the orchestra has been invited to several important and renowned international events, it performed in the Konzerthaus in Vienna within the subscription concert series of the Wiener Philharmoniker, at the 23rd Music Biennale in Zagreb and in 2006 the final concert of the festivities of the anniversary of 1956 in the Stephansdom in Vienna.
Since January 2007 the orchestra is the ambassador of the Pécs2010 European Capital of Culture.

Zoltán Kocsis, general music director of the Hungarian National Philharmonic, the Permanent First Guest Conductor of the Pannon Philharmonic
After several guest performances Zoltán Kocsis remained convinced that the professional preparedness of the Pannon Philharmonic was outstanding among the orchestras not based in the capital and that it can be developed to the level of the two leading orchestras of the capital. Zsolt Hamar started his professional career as the first permanent guest conductor of the Hungarian National Philharmonic and therefore the professional harmony between the music director and Zoltán Kocsis is destined to bring benefits for the future of the orchestra.
Guest Conductors
In the past five seasons the Pannon Philharmonic put special emphasis on the aspect that the invited guest conductors shall be for the benefit of the professional development of the orchestra. According to this the invited conductors are not only known and renowned for their exceptional musical knowledge, but also for their abilities and skills to build an orchestra and for their work as musical and artistic directors. In the last couple of years the Pannon Philharmonic has played with the following conductors: Rico Saccani, Marko Letonja, Will Humburg, Gabriel Chmura, Leopold Hager, Helmuth Rilling, Hansjörg Schellenberger, Martin Turnovský, János Fürst, Alexander Lonquich.
Subscription concert series
The concert orchestra has two subscription concert series in Pécs. The main series includes 10 concerts for each subscription series. The venues were the Foyer of the University of Pécs and the National Theatre in Pécs. The thematic of the series were closely related to the thematic of the years leading up to the event series Pécs 2010 European Capital of Culture. In 2007 in the year of learning and teaching it was Books, in 2008 (the year of health) Harmonia Humana, in 2009 (the year of religious culture) Ethos et Spiritus. Thanks to the thematic structure of the concert series following the footsteps of Claudio Abbado the concerts are enriched with a plus content in addition to the mere musical aspects. The guest musicians and conductors for the concert series come from the international elite and thus means also the professional development of the orchestra.
In addition to the main subscription concert series the Pannon Philharmonic has also organized a 3 concert oratory subscription series related to the biggest religious festivities (All Soul’s Day, Christmas and Easter) in the Basilica of Pécs, part of the World’s cultural heritage.
The Pannon Philharmonic is the only Hungarian orchestra based outside of Budapest which has managed to have a fully sold out subscription concert series with 4 concerts in the Palace of Arts in Budapest – Bartók Béla National Concert Hall for the fifth consecutive year. The fully sold out spring series built the audience of the orchestra in Budapest and turned the attention of everyone to the professional development of the Pannon Philharmonic as a result of which it is now considered one of the leading orchestras in Hungary.
Individual Projects
In addition to its subscription concert series the Pannon Philharmonic is open for every production aiming at quality. The management of the orchestra believes that classical music is extremely rich and colourful; the only question is to find the audience.
At the II. Pécsi Filmünnep (Film festival of Pécs) the orchestra performed Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin and Star Wars with the animation of Oscar nominee Géza M. Tóth in front of two thousand people. At the media festival Kamera Hungária commemorating the 50th anniversary of television in Hungary the orchestra played the symphonic adaptations of title music of TV series. The Pannon Philharmonic is open for joint performances with different musical and artistic genres, it has already performed with folk musicians and we also saw joint productions featuring sand drawings, pantomime and ballet.
The exclusive New Year’s concert is a special priority project in the National Theatre of Pécs with the leading participants of economics, politics and of public life. The concert broadcasted live in Hungary on a national channel became a distinctive social event of Pécs. The program of the concert is chosen very carefully each year. In 2006 the audience was overwhelmed by a joint production with Zoltán Orosz accordionist (permanent musical partner of the famous Hungarian singer Zorán). The Box Membership (Páholytagság) is also related to the New Year’s concert. This consists of persons supporting the orchestra who buy their seats for this concert for years ahead and also help the work of the orchestra during the year.
The overture to the spring-summer concerts of the orchestra is the so called PICNIC, at which the program for the coming year is presented at an intimate open-air picnic offering a possibility for light entertainment for families.
Help, Classical Music!
The series with this very appropriate title tries to address young people and families in the outskirts of Pécs. Every concert of the series is presented by Balázs Bujtor concertmaster by highlighting new sides and interesting points of a musical work in an exciting and entertaining way. The concerts consist of two parts, the first is the presentation and explanation, the second is the concert in its entirety.
This interactive series is very popular and brings classical music close to young and old even without them noticing it, because they explore the beauties and the interesting points together with the conductor.
Publication of the oeuvre of György Lickl
The oeuvre of the composer György Lickl who lived at the beginning of the 19th century in Pécs and Vienna has not yet been collected, organized and published. The Pannon Philharmonic has started this project and would like to complete this and publish his works. The goal is to make the works of the undeservedly forgotten composer known to the widest possible public.
With the collection and publication as well as performance of the works the project aims at reinforcing the position of Pécs in the international music life and the cultural life of the town.

The repositioning of the Pannon Philharmonic in Hungary also happened with the goal of a repositioning it at international level and this is also confirmed by the appointment to ambassador of Pécs2010. In accordance with this the orchestra only accepts invitations to renowned festivals and events in Hungary and abroad. As a result of the development of the last five years the orchestra has been invited to: the Budapest Spring Festival with Maxim Vengerov; the Zemplén festival; the Vajdahunyadvár Music Days and the gala concert of the Miskolc Opera Festival; it performed the final concert of the festivities commemorating the martyrs of the 1956 Hungarian revolution at the Kossuth tér in Budapest in front of the Parliament; the concert of the official state festivities commemorating the 160th anniversary of the revolution of 1848/49 in the Palace of Arts in Budapest and it also performed at the opening events of the Pécs 2010 European Capital of Culture.
The orchestra performed abroad at the 23rd Music Biennale in Zagreb; in several subscription concert series in Zagreb and Villach; in Stavanger (European Capital of Culture in 2008) the orchestra cooperates in the staging of a contemporary opera; in the Konzerthaus in Vienna within the subscription concert series of the Wiener Philharmoniker; in the Stephansdom in Vienna on the final concert of the festivities commemorating the 1956 Hungarian revolution organized by the Collegium Hungaricum; thanks to a close cooperation it performs regularly in Osijek and Zagreb, in 2010 in Essen and Salzburg.
The professional quality of the orchestra is very significant even in international comparison and this is also confirmed by the fact that in the framework of the series World stars in Pécs as a part of the Pécs 2010 European Capital of Culture event series it performs together with José Carreras, Mischa Maisky, Leopold Hager, Alexander Lonquich, Eva Mei, Placido Domingo, Howard Griffiths, Fazil Say, Oliver von Dohnányi, Patricia Kopatschinskaja and Maxim Vengerov.

Event Calendar

Across Continents

22. Feb, 19:00 | Kodály Centre

Conductor: Gilbert Varga

E.ON Concert Series: Across Continents

23. Feb, 19:30 | Béla Bartók National Concert Hall (Palace of Arts)

Conductor: Gilbert Varga

Artist Entrance 3 – Music Within Arm's Reach

1. Mar, 19:00 | Kodály Centre


2. Mar, 16:00 | Pécs Zoo

SnailShell 6 – Woodwinds from Brass

3. Mar, 15:30 | Kodály Centre

SnailShell 6 – Woodwinds from Brass

3. Mar, 17:00 | Kodály Centre