BUDAPEST GYPSY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
The Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra is the world largest gypsy symphony orchestra. Founded in 1985, when Sándor Jároka, at the time Hungary's most famous "primás" (gypsy soloist) died. All Hungarian gypsy musicians gathered at his funeral and after the ceremony they all begun to play. The orchestra had been born out of that improvised moment. Since its foundation the orchestra has performed several concerts in many European countries, especially in France, where the orchestra gives about 60 sold-out concerts every year. The orchestra has also been very successful in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria. The orchestra had recorded two CDs on "Hungaroton". It has just recorded two more live CDs, that are issued next in the market. Until his tragic death in December 1997 Lászlo Berki, the conductor of the National Hungarian State Ensemble, was leader of the Orchestra, writing most of the orchestra's arrangements. With is outstanding artistic personality he has left a remarkable stamp on this peculiar ensemble. The orchestra consists of 50 violins, 10 violas, 10 cellos, 11 doublebasses, 9 clarinets and 6 cimbaloms. Its repertoire not only consists of the famous Hungarian csárdás - music, but also of classical pieces, like the Hungarian Rhapsodies by Liszt, Hungarian Dances by Brahms, pieces by members of the Strauss family and Hungarian folk music. Each appearance of the orchestra has an incomparable effect on the audiences. Wearing coluorful traditional suits the orchestra spreads its native energy, playing with no scores. Quick changes of rhythm, color, harmony and style are found in every piece they play, surprising variations, rich harmony and an instinctive feeling for the unison of the ensemble, for seamless transitions are innate abilities of these musicians. Since its foundation the orchestra every year organizes a "Primás -Competition" in Budapest. The winners are made members of the orchestra. A way the orchestra takes care of its own musical future.