Maestro Gilbert Varga and Tibor Bogányi conductors with two faces at Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra – Pécs

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The Pannon Philharmonic Orchester (PFZ ) introduced  Maestro Gilbert Varga at Pécs in the Kodály Centre’s concert auditorium, whereas an open Group meeting was held on October 30, 2018, marking the beginning of a new chapter. This was the first time ever, the ensemble held an all-encompassing “Group meeting” that was open to the press as well with the orchestra members underlining the importance of the event that ushered in this new chapter.

The PFZ succeeded to sign for the forthcoming 3 years a contract with the Principal Conducter Maestro Gilbert Varga which was officially announced at the Kodály Center Music Hall. Conductor Tibor Bogányi, who has been for the past 18 years the lead conductor will share the stage with the maestro in the coming seasons. The ensemble will stronger the orchestra and bring fresh air into the music hall. For instance, said Bogányi  Q.: “Mutual conductors has become common elsewhere in Europe i.e. in Finland there are four permanent conductors at the Finnish Philharmonic Orchestra, and goes very well, each one conducting different music pieces. This joint mission is a unique new form in the Hungarian musical life with the ensemble of two equally artistic director in directing a spirit of trust in mutual co-operation. The two leader virtuoso conductors, alongside will be bringing new color into the Hungarian musical life for its artists, orchestra leadership and certainly will be a gift for the ears to the local and foreigner audience visiting the Kodály Center at Pécs.

Gilbert Varga is a Maestro of Hungarian descent, born in London, his family emigrated in the late ’40s. His father Tibor Varga was a legendary Hungarian violinist.  The maestro in the beginning made up his mind to be a violinist, but later on found himself the “worthy place” in the music hall and stepped up to the conductor’s pulpitum. The legendary conductor was the Music Director of Philharmonia Hungarica, a symphony group gathered of Hungarian musicians who emigrated in 1956.
The Pécs based orchestra have had been unsuccessfully attempted to call him home on multiple occasions, and now finally excepted to come to Hungary. Earlier, with the Basque Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia Hungarica and  currently chief conductor of the Basque Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia Hungarica. He worked at the Malmö Symphony Orchestra and the Stuttgart’s first permanent guest conductor and as a guest conductor also conducts the world’s finest ensembles from the United States to Taiwan.

The Maestro Varga, spoke about many instances in his career when he worked in a pair with other Principal Conductors, including Cristian Madeal and Mario Venzago. The Maestro Varga said Q.: „Together with Tibor Bogányi, we will be like a conductor with two faces. I have experience in similar paired leading conductor work, it has always been a positive experience for me and forward-thinking for the orchestra. Fulfilling this invitation by means sharing the responsibilities with Tibor Bogányi, making in use of opportunities that lie in our different age but open artistic capabilities.”

Q.: „The orchestra is constantly exploring new ways of reaching out to the audiences both young and elder folks. The idea is to activate young ones and young adults instead of passive listening, to gain experience of what the orchestra music is about. It is important to “win” the young ones… cause they are the next generation who will decided whether they will enjoy later the symphonic music or not, so our goal is that  for those coming for the first time to the music hall, to give them our best to feel, love to enjoy the symphony orchestra music” so said conductor Tibor Bogányi. The upcoming collaborative work both a test of personality and a professional challenge. Bogányi has undertaken a leadership position that supports creative expression, and he sees the older Maestro’s main role as prioritising the synthesis of professional tasks and broadening the young musicians’ professional horizons even further. Moreover, the pair’s distinctive musical interests will also enrich the orchestra’s repertoire.

The PFZ Director – Zsolt Horváth sees the aim of this new era as the lasting establishment of Hungary’s leading orchestras. Due to the group’s inner motivation and the artistic demands the orchestra, unique amongst local symphonic orchestras, has achieved a standard noted on both national and international stages. The collaboration is a high level of education that is already manifested in the orchestra’s current processes.  Q.: “The Pannon Philharmonic must get the opportunities and occasions to evolve, and we are confident in it cause we feel that we have done everything to provide them in the past 16 years.” stated the director. Added, overall the concerts conducted by Gilbert Varga and Tibor Bogányi cover about 70% of their program, but will continue to work also with well-known guest conductors in the future as in the past. Last but not least Zsolt Horváth stated, Maestro Gilbert Varga, is the band’s true national orchestra of Central Europe and the Visegrád countries. The goal is to act as cultural ambassadors as providing a guarantee that the Hungarian music represented a worthy level in the Carpathian Basin and Hungary surrounding.

Agnes Morvay – president of the Art Council of PFZ, said … This co-operation of the two directors … the experience of Gilbert Varga is clear, concrete sound design, artistic work and the talented youthful personality of Tibor Boganyi  the orchestra will surely benefit from  both sides  and the new sound  also will provide a higher love to the concert lovers.

Zsolt Pava  – Mayor of Pécs emphasized Gilbert Varga career guarantee that the PFZ new professional level step to happen; the orchestra brand strengthens the arrival of the conductor. Musicians of the company with excellent artistic and professional qualifications are “on the threshold” for wage increases, he added.

Update and snap by Aggie Reiter

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