Danubia Orchestra Óbuda Celebrates its 25th Birthday
Each one of us have their own Danubia: for some of us, it is still that youth orchestra it once was formed by students of the Bartók Conservatory, and for others, it is a considerable and solemn orchestra always stepping into territories in music that are unfamiliar though all the more interesting. For some, Danubia Orchestra Óbuda means novelty, for others they are missionaries of classical music, for some, they mean passion, for others concerts that are always splendid. For our founders, the Orchestra means a quarter of a century. We would like to stay invariably young with twenty-five years passed.
The reason is simple. We always have to seek what we are – heroes, free people, children –, what our ancestors were and what the rhythm of our future is. What we are surrounded by – machines, people, myths –, and where we live – homeland, Europe, the world. These are the questions we have raised via our concerts in recent years. We would like to explore the treasure chest of the history of music, find in the sheet the possibility for the best performance. We are proud of these twenty-five years. The music, the orchestra, each other.
We’ve come a long way. The orchestra was founded by Domonkos Héja in 1993 with students of the Béla Bartók Music High School. On our first concert – “if ever you may call it a concert”, the founder conductor remembers –, we provided booty-shaker music at a ball. The same year, in December, we already played in the Óbuda Social Club, and we got the idea into our mind of creating something glorious for this quarter.
What we needed were meticulous workshops, internal courses and immense enthusiasm. In 1997, we played at the Saarland Festival with a considerable success, in 2000, one of the most beautiful concert halls of Europe, the Tonnhalle of Zürich awaited us, and we also played in the Konzerthaus of Berlin and the Vatican City for Pope John Paul II, and we extended ourselves to almost three hundred members for the Budapest Spring Festival. The orchestra of students became an acknowledged orchestra, conducted among others by Zoltán Kocsis, Yuriy Simonov, Tamás Vásáry, Sir Neville Marriner, José Cura and Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi. Our first record was released by the Warner Bros., including Hungarian compositions that represented novelty for the international audience.
In 2005, we abandoned the attribute “Youth” from our name, and two years later, we re-baptized as Danubia Orchestra Óbuda, and the local government of Óbuda took us under their wing. In 2008, at the age of 15, we proclaimed proudly: “It’s not the youth that’s passed away – it’s our knowledge that’s increased!”
In 2013, Máté Hámori took over the leadership of the orchestra, this meant the beginning of a remarkably fruitful period. We could extend our audience with success, widened our repertoire, and we started a mission brave-heartedly. We started the series “Music is all we need…” we bring classical music into schools for children. We also started exciting season ticket series in the Great Hall of the Music Academy and BMC. We had plans and new ideas. We found our home (rehearsal room) in the former Flórián Cinema in Óbuda, and found success from our critics and audience in the concert halls. We have been seeking individual and effective modes of sound: be it classical or contemporary music, or the less known compositions from great composers.
We are 25 now. Come and join us for the next 25 years!