The Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO) – which celebrated its 30th anniversary in the 2013/14 season – has established itself as Hungary’s leading ensemble and, according to Gramophone magazine, as one of the ten leading orchestras of the world. Under the charismatic guidance of Iván Fischer, the BFO has collaborated with outstanding artists of the past and present. Most importantly, the spirit of music-making of the BFO is very different from most major orchestras. Rehearsals and concerts demonstrate a unique sense of collaboration between musicians and conductor. Each performance is carefully prepared by Iván Fischer. Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 was composed in 1822 and, even though he still had six years to live, the composer only completed two movements (although a few bars of a Scherzo do exist, representing not more than thirty seconds of music). Colourful, melodic and expressive, this work is often regarded as the first romantic symphony. With Bruckner’s Ninth we step into a different world. There again, this work was not completed at the time of the composer’s death in 1896: the last movement has been edited by Alfred Orel. Lasting close to one hour, this imposing and highly mystical work was dedicated by Bruckner “to the beloved God”.