Music as message
Adam Fischer is one of the leading conductors of our time. Born in 1949 in Budapest, a student of Hans Swarowsky, he knew from an early age that music can, and has to, carry a message. With this in mind, he founded the Österreichisch-Ungarische Haydn Philharmonie in 1987 with musicians from his two home countries Austria and Hungary, to overcome not only the borders of the Iron Curtain but also the prejudices against the music of Joseph Haydn. His recording of the complete 104 symphonies by Joseph Haydn remains unsurpassed to this day. Adam Fischer’s characteristic unwavering commitment also manifests itself in the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt which he founded at the same time and which became an international centre for the performance of Haydn’s music over a period of 30 years. In 2021, on the 50th anniversary of the Joseph Haydn Conservatory, the Joseph Haydn Prize was awarded for the first time in Eisenstadt, honoring Adam Fischer for his life's work.
Whether in Bayreuth, where he was named Conductor of the Year by the magazine Opernwelt for his sensational Ring debut in 2001, at the Metropolitan Opera or at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, whether with the Wiener or Berliner Philharmoniker, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment or at the Salzburg Festival: Adam Fischer is recognised, by audiences and musicians alike, as a mediator between music and the outside world. He is not the “boss”, he is not a “maestro”: he is a motivator who nourishes a high level of competence and personal responsibility in his orchestra members. He thus combines the qualities of a modern “primus inter pares” conductor with those of a classic, dyed-in-the-wool “Kapellmeister”:
Adam Fischer acquired his profound understanding of the opera world and his unusually broad repertoire by taking the classic career path steps from répétiteur (Graz) to General Music Director (Freiburg, Kassel, Mannheim und Budapest). He is revered as an intuitive, sensitive partner by singers and orchestras. His international breakthrough came in 1978 when he took over the baton from Karl Böhm, conducting “Fidelio” at the Bayerische Staatsoper. Since then he has been a guarantor of thrilling opera evenings at all leading opera houses of the world. His closest links are with the Wiener Staatsoper: here he made his debut in 1980 with “Otello”, and since then he has conducted 26 different works. In 2017 he was appointed Honorary Member of this legendary institution.
When he became Chief Conductor of the Danish Chamber Orchestra in 1998, he found the ideal partners for his innovative and radical ideas: open-minded musicians who enjoy experimenting. Together, over many years of collaboration, they have been able to develop their very own individual style. With a recording of all Mozart symphonies (International Classical Music Award 2015) and an award-winning complete Beethoven recording (International Classical Music Award Recording of the Year 2020 and nominated for an OPUS Klassik 2020) Adam Fischer ventured into new territory in terms of musical interpretation to enthusiastic international acclaim.
Adam Fischer also embarked on a completely new path in 2006 when he founded the Wagner Days in Budapest: together with Gábor Zoboki, the architect of the Palace of Arts (MUPA), he realised his idea of performing Wagner’s work in a concert hall by including the entire hall in an all-round artistic experience. Offering a heightened focus on Wagner’s music, the Budapest Wagner Days under Adam Fischer’s artistic leadership have established themselves as a world-class Wagner opera festival which has been named “Bayreuth on the Danube” by the New York Times.
As Principal Conductor of the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, Adam Fischer began a Haydn-Mahler cycle in 2015 which was also received with international enthusiasm. In addition to excellent reviews in all relevant media, his Mahler recordings with the orchestra received the highest distinctions with the 2019 BBC Music Magazine Award and the OPUS KLASSIK 2019 for best orchestra recordings of the year.
Adam Fischer regularly uses his success and the broad international public for important messages about humanity and democracy. The Human Rights Award of the Tonhalle Düsseldorf which he presents every year since 2016 is a testimony to this, and he is regularly asked for help and advice on the burning issues of our time. For his commitment he received - amongst others - the renowned Wolf Prize of the Wolf Foundation in Jerusalem and the Gold Medal in the Arts of the Kennedy Center, Washington. He has been a member of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights for more than twenty years.
Adam Fischer is an Honorary Member of the Musikverein für Steiermark in Graz. He holds the honorary Austrian title of Professor and he has received the Order of Dannebrog from the Queen of Denmark.
He lives with his family in Hamburg, Berlin and Budapest.
Im Jahr 2021 wurde zum 50. Jubiläum des Joseph Haydn Konservatoriums erstmals der Joseph Haydn Preis in Eisenstadt verliehen und damit Adam Fischer für sein Lebenswerk ausgezeichnet.