The world’s largest gypsy symphony orchestra, sometimes called One Hundred Violins, will perform a spirited, virtuoso program next Tuesday, playing in traditional gypsy attire and doing away with scores.
The Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra will perform Hungarian and international gypsy music from Vittorio Monti and Grigoras Dinicu, as well as gypsy-inspired works by Brahms, Liszt and Johann Strauss.
The orchestra of 100 musicians includes 60 violins, 10 double basses, nine violas, six cellos, nine clarinets and six cimbaloms (Hungarian dulcimers).
The orchestra, which dispenses with formality and tuxedos, is described as “a passionate embodiment of Hungary’s musical soul, playing without scores and showing musicality and virtuosity through intuitive collaboration and turns in tempo and timber that enrich the original work.”
Founded in 1985, the orchestra is conducted by 64-year-old Sandor Rigo Buffo, the artistic director and violinist awarded the Gold Cross of Merit by the Republic of Hungary in 2000.
The principal violin is Jozsef Lendvai, awarded the Lajos Boross Award in 1998, the highest accolades of all gypsy violinists. He joined the Rajko Orchestra at the age of 10 and led the orchestra on a world tour when he was 20.
The concert program includes Brahms’ “Hungarian Dances No. 5” and No. 1, Monti’s “Czardas,” Gabor Radics’ “Titania,” Strauss’ “Overture to Die Fledermaus” and “Overture to the Gypsy Baron,” Dinicu’s “Ciocarla” and Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.”
The performance is part of the 15th China Shanghai International Arts Festival. Shanghai is the final stop on the orchestra’s debut tour of China.