Budapest orchestra performs live concert from moving lorry

The musical parade was aimed at encouraging Hungarians to start returning to live performances in concert halls.

Budapest orchestra performs live concert from moving lorry

An orchestra in Hungary that wants its audience back has performed a live concert from a moving lorry.

Five members of the prestigious Budapest Festival Orchestra, led by renowned composer Ivan Fischer, took to the streets to perform classical music to motorists and passers-by in the Hungarian capital.

The musical parade was aimed at encouraging Hungarians to start returning to live performances in concert halls as the pandemic wanes, after more than a year in which people were homebound and forced to take in their culture online.

“I believe that live concerts are very important,” Mr Fischer said. “I think especially now that everyone is fed up with their computers and phones, people will throw them away. They will be back to socialising, getting to know each other, hugging, and talking.”

Members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra play music on the back of a truck while driving through the city
Members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra play music on the back of a truck while driving through the city (Laszlo Balogh/AP)

The pandemic hit Hungary particularly hard in the spring, making it for a time the country with the most virus deaths per capita in the world. But the numbers of new infections have now plummeted amid one of the European Union’s fastest vaccination campaigns.

The five musicians played Schubert, Mozart and Dvorak as the lorry carried them over the Chain Bridge spanning the Danube River and past St Stephen’s Basilica and other stunning city landmarks.

People on the streets stopped to enjoy the impromptu concert, applauding at the end of pieces. Children clapped to the music while adults pulled out phones to film the performance.

An orchestra plays on a truck
The orchestra performed classical music to motorists and passers-by (Laszlo Balogh/AP)

“It was surprising that after we sat down and got settled, the truck started to move underneath us. We’ve never had this kind of experience before. It is new for all the musicians,” she said.

The Budapest Festival Orchestra has become one of Europe’s leading ensembles under Mr Fischer, who co-founded it in 1983 with the late pianist and composer Zoltan Kocsis.

After a year of lockdown, the orchestra is now selling tickets as it resumes concerts with audiences at limited capacity, while its regular 2021-22 season opens on September 9.

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