Iván Fischer studied piano, violin, cello and composition in Budapest. He went on to Vienna where he studied orchestral conducting with Hans Swarowsky. Subsequently he was Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s assistant for two seasons.
In 1983 Iván Fischer founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra; with this ensemble, which he still conducts, he has been immensely successful. In August 2012 Iván Fischer became also chief conductor of the Konzerthaus Berlin and the Konzerthausorchester. In the past Iván Fischer was Music Director at Kent Opera and Principal Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington.
He has initiated several festivals, including the Budapest Mahlerfest, and attracted tens of thousands of people to his open-air concerts in Budapest. In 2006 he received the Kossuth Prize, the most prestigious Hungarian cultural prize, and in 2013 he was made an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Iván Fischer is also a composer; his compositions have been played in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, the United States and elsewhere.
He has been a guest conductor with all the major orchestras. He made his debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1987 and has been a very regular guest ever since. In April 2017, Iván Fischer conducted the Concertgebouw Orchestra in works by Bartók and Dvořák and the world premiere of James McMillan’s Trombone Concerto with Jörgen van Rijen as soloist.