As can be read here and in an article by Tim Page here, the NSO board has appointed Iván Fischer, founder of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, as the Principal Guest Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra for the 2006/07, 07/08, and 08/09 season. That means between a fortnight and three weeks of Fischer in Washington per annum - and this is excellent news! Iván Fischer, Adam Fischer's little brother, is a splendid conductor. If the orchestra liked him the last two times he was here, it is also a splendid choice. We may look forward to exquisite performances of Bartók, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, and much, much more.
A principal guest conductorship may or may not lead to the position of Music Director, but whether Fischer succeeds Slatkin or not, Washington is very much the richer for his arrival. Ionarts recommends you whet your appetite and get your ears into gear by listening to some of the recordings listed below. You'll understand why 'tis a happy day. (By the way, when looking for recordings, Iván is not to be mistaken with the redoubtable brother, Adam - also a very fine conductor... it was the latter who did the impressive complete Haydn symphonies for Nimbus [now also a complete set on Brilliant] and an equally complete set of Bartók's orchestral works. Both have recorded Blaubart's Burg. To add just a little confusion, Hungaroton recordings will list the younger brother as "István Fischer.")
S. Rachmaninov, Symphony No. 2, Vocalise, I. Fischer/BFO
B. Bartók, The Miraculous Mandarin, Rumanian Folk Dances, Hungarian Peasant Songs, I. Fischer/BFO
J. Brahms, Hungarian Dances, I. Fischer/BFO
F. Liszt, Hungarian Rhapsodies, I. Fischer/BFO