Adam Fischer

Wolf Prize Laureate in Music 2018

Adam Fischer


Award citation:

“who is recognized as an Inspirational conductor and eloquent defender of human rights”.


Prize Share:

Adam Fischer

Sir Paul McCartney 


Ádám Fischer is one of the most distinguished conductors active today. Trained in Budapest and Vienna, he has had a long association with the Vienna State Opera and was made an honorary member in 2017. He held the post of principal conductor in Karlsruhe, general music director in Freiburg im Breisgau, and music director of the Kassel Opera.

Fischer created an international Gustav Mahler Festival in Kassel and founded and directs the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra, performing in the venue in which Haydn premiered a majority of his symphonies. His active career encompasses the major opera houses and most prestigious orchestras of the world.

His support of human rights, and in particular, his protest against the political developments in his native Hungary, make him an artist of exemplary integrity–a quality that shapes his interpretations as well as the morality of his stance.

The Wolf Foundation is proud to recognize in Ádám Fischer a musical leader beloved around the world, whose aspirations serve as an inspiration to us all. Dynamic initiative and diversity characterise the creative work of the world-renowned conductor Adam Fischer. He is the founder of two international festivals where he has found an artistic home. Under his direction, the Wagner Festival in Budapest has established an excellent reputation in the more than ten years of its existence – with opera productions at the Palace of Arts, including Wagner’s Ring cycle as their centrepiece performed on four consecutive days every year. The Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt was founded in 1987 and has established its reputation as a renowned centre for performing the music of Haydn. At the same time, Adam Fischer founded the Österreichisch-Ungarische Haydn Philharmonie for the festival. In the many years as their Principal Conductor he set new standards for the interpretation of Haydn’s music. The recordings of the complete Haydn symphonies which have received numerous awards are a testimony to this achievement. He retains close links with the orchestra as their Honorary Conductor. Adam Fischer‘s most recent project for the forthcoming seasons is to dedicate himself to the complete works of Gustav Mahler which he will perform in concert and record live on CD together with the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker whose Principal Conductor he has been since 2015. He is also Artistic Consultant to the Tonhalle concert hall in Düsseldorf where he has initiated a human rights award which will be presented every year at a specially organised human rights concert. Adam Fischer has a close relationship with the Danish Chamber Orchestra in Copenhagen, whose Principal Conductor he has been since 1998, an artistic partnership which has found its expression especially in a highly acclaimed and award-winning recording of Mozart’s complete symphonic work. This successful collaboration is now being continued with a Beethoven cycle. At the Wiener Staatsoper, which has been one of his artistic homes since 1973, Adam Fischer has conducted several new productions and as many as 26 different operas. One of the recent highlights was a series of perfomances of Wagner’s Walküre which was enthusiastically received in Tokyo, as part of the Wiener Staatsoper’s guest performance in Japan in 2016. For his services he was appointed Hononary Member of the Wiener Staatsoper in consultation with the Austrian Minister for Culture in 2017. With an extremely wide repertoire of German and Italian opera, Adam Fischer has appeared for more than thirty years at all the leading opera houses worldwide including the MET in New York, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Covent Garden in London, the Opéra de Bastille in Paris, Oper Zürich and La Scala in Milan, where he recently conducted a highly acclaimed new production of the Magic Flute, a work with which he made his debut there in 1986. A guest at the Bayreuth Festival for many years, he was elected Conductor of the Year by the German magazine Opernwelt in 2002 for his performances of Wagner’s Ring cycle. In the concert hall, Adam Fischer regularly appears on the podium with the Wiener Philharmoniker (2017 Mozartwoche Salzburg and subscription concerts at the Vienna Musikverein), Wiener Symphoniker (this season subscription concerts and “Frühling in Wien” at the Vienna Musikverein) and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (recently in London, New York Carnegie Hall and Budapest), the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg (Mozart matinees at the Salzburg Festival) and in collaboration with all the leading orchestras worldwide such as the Münchner Philharmoniker, Bamberger Symphoniker, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Orchestre de Paris, London Philharmonic, Chicago and Boston Symphony Orchestras, NHK Symphony Orchestra. After studying composition and conducting in his home town Budapest and in Vienna with the legendary Hans Swarowsky, Adam Fischer first took up engagements as a répétiteur and Kapellmeister which led him to Graz, Helsinki, Karlsruhe and Munich. He was General Music Director in Freiburg (1981-1983), Kassel (1987-1992) and Mannheim (2000-2005) before returning to his native Budapest as Artistic Director of the Budapest Opera (2007-2010). Two Echo Klassik Awards for the recordings of the complete collection of symphonies by Joseph Haydn (Österreichisch-Ungarische Haydn Philharmonie), an International Classical Music Award in 2015 for a recording of the complete collection of Mozart’s symphonies (Danish Chamber Orchestra) and the Grand Prix du Disque awarded for the recordings of Goldmark’s The Queen of Sheba and Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle document the wide range of his work in his extensive discography. Adam Fischer is an Honorary Member of the Musikverein für Steiermark in Graz. He is a recipient of the Order of Dannebrog which was given to him by the Queen of Denmark and has been awarded the honorary title of professor by the Austrian Federal President.


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