The Chronological History of the Orchestra

Szombathely has the fourth Choir Association in Hungary,

The Catholic School Orchestra gives a concert featuring Pál Schedl,

Conductor Otto Müller “welcomes ladies and gentlemen proficient in any branch of music with the aim to set up an orchestra working on a voluntary basis”,

The Philharmonic Society is set up, The directors of the orchestra are: Balassa, Kálmán and Henne, Ignác,

The establishment of the Philharmonic Association,

The setting up the local music school under director Elemér Csikor, who also takes an active part of the town musical life as a performing concert musician,

The premiere of Haydn’s oratorio “Four Seasons”,

After the recovery from World War I, the string orchestra is reorganized by Alfred Koller,

The Musical Department of The Cultural Association supplements its string musicians with wind players, borrowing them from the military wind band of “The 5th King Matthias Infantry”. This provisional orchestra is directed by Kálmán Balassa,

Composer Ernő Dohnányi praises the orchestra conducted by Vendel Stazenberg,

Antal Dillmann is asked to act as the director of the orchestra. He wishes to make a closer co-operation with the symphony orchestra of Sopron,

Zoltán Kodály conducts the orchestra on 14, May. It is Gyula Baranyai who assists the orchestra in rehearsing the piece on the programme, the Háry Suite,

The string orchestra of the local Cultural Association performs the instrumental version of Béla Bartók’s piano work “Hungarian Peasant Songs” on 18 March for the first time in a Hungarian concert hall after the piece had had its premiere in Rotterdam and had been broadcast on Hungarian radio. The orchestra was supplemented by the winds of the 5th Hungarian Infantry. Conductor: Gyula Baranyai,

Another prominent concert performed the same year with soloist János Koncz and conductor Richárd Fricsay,

The setting up of the chamber orchestra ‘Collegium Musicum’ by Alíz Bárdos and Lili Wiener,

The first time János Ferencsik conducts the orchestra. This year the principal conductor is József Dillmann, of the military band,

World War II saw the breaking up of the orchestra, several members died during the war. The military band-providing the winds to the orchestra before the war-has been moved to Debrecen. Between 1945 and 1948 the orchestra performs with students and teachers of the music school. Conductor: Kálmán Balassa,

The Szombathely Philharmonic Society is set up, its orchestra is directed by István Pécsi,

On Zoltán Kodály’s recommendation, musicologist Ern? Lendvai comes to Szombathely to become director of the local music school. Along with his wife, pianist Erzsébet Tusa, he plays a prominent role in shaping the town’s musical life until 1954,

Owing to Ernő Ledvai’s outstanding work, the Szombathely Philharmonic Society Orchestra develops the idea of becoming independent,

The new conductor is Simon Jenő,

The Philharmonic Society is wound up, and keeps on working under name of Szombathely Town Council Symphony Orchestra of the Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductors of the next few years: Tibor Bachmann and Alfréd Endrődy,

The Town Council Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Mihály Schmidt. The youth orchestra of the music school works as the Youth House Small Symphony Orchestra directed by János Petró,

The Town Council Symphony Orchestra and the youth orchestra of the music school unite as required by the resolution No. 383/1961 of the Board of Arbitration. Its news name is the Savaria Symphony Orchestra, its new conductor, taking office on 15 February 1962, is János Petró,

The first performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute with the Savaria Symphony Orchestra along with soloists of the State Opera House and singers of the local Erkel Choir. Conductor: András Kórodi,

The orchestra appears for the first time at the 1st National Festival of Symphony Orchestras. It gives a successful concert at the ceremonial hall of the City Council,
Iván Tibold, concert musician and new director and of the Béla Bartók Music School provides full support to the orchestra by every possible means,

The first Hungarian premiere of Gluck’s Iphigénie and Tauride,

The ceremonial inauguration of the new four-storey building of the music school on 19 August,

Owing to János Petró’s valuable work done, the Savaria Symphony Orchestra finally becomes independent,

The first radio recording in Austria, a concert in Graz, and the Szombathely debut of Mozart’s Thamos, King of Egypt.,

The Savaria Symphony Orchestra becomes and independent institution and a professional orchestra under director-general János Petró,

The Bartók Concert Hall, with superb acoustics, is inaugurated. The orchestra performs its concerts, and holds its rehearsals here,

The International Bartók Seminar moves from Budapest to Szombathely. It has been one of the major festivals organised in our town ever since. The demanding course for conductors relies heavily on the symphony orchestra,

Szombathely hosts the selection for the Hungarian TV’s International Competition for Conductors featuring the Savaria Symphony Orchestra, The organ of the Bartók Hall is inaugurated,

The organ of the Bartók Hall is inaugurated,

The International Bartók Seminar is expanded with a festival component under the guidance of Péter Eötvös,

The orchestra receives a ministerial recognition,

For its outstanding quality of artistic work, the Savaria Symphony Orchestra receives the Béla Bartók-Ditta Pásztory Award,

Professor Dr. Ludovit Rajter is given the title “honorary conductor for life”, by the Savaria Symphony Orchestra,

Principal conductor of the orchestra from this year is Irishman Robert Houlihan,

Director of the orchestra in the first half of the year is Antal Jancsovics, then for the next five years, organist Judit Hajdók,

New director of the orchestra is clarinettist László Horváth,

1998 and 1999 has two conductors, Balázs Kocsár and Izaki Masahiro,

A new initiative, Savaria Interforum is launched providing an opportunity for young soloists to prove their talents,

Izaki Masahiro is elected as artistic director and principal conductor of the orchestra,

the orchestra celebrated its 25th anniversary,

To celebrate the Hungarian Millennium, a National Symphony Orchestra festival is held in Szombathely between 14 March and 16 June

Pál Tamás is the orchestra’s newly elected artistic director and principal conductor,

To reward the its remarkable success in performing and popularising Hungarian musical compositions, the orchestra is awarded the prize offered by the ARTISJUS Foundation of Music,

Director László Horváth rewards János Petró with the title of “founding conductor and president of the orchestra”,

The orchestra goes on a two-week tour in France as part of the Hungarian Year of Culture and performs in Normandy, Tours and Aix en Provence,

The orchestra appears in the Theatre of Vienna during the Festive Weeks of Vienna, featuring in Péter Eörvös’ opera, The Three Sisters,

The orchestra tours in Italy with conductor Tamás Pál as the Festival Euro Mediterraneo.

On the occasion of ‘County-going’ (Megyejárás) -in the National Theatre – the ensemble was granted the Pro Arte Hungarica price.

The ensemble celebrated the 30th anniversary of getting professional

Szeptembertől Alpaslan Ertüngealp az együttes zeneigazgatója

Októberben kinevezik Bonecz Ervint a zenekar igazgatójának

From September Alpaslan Ertüngealp is the music director of the orchestra.
In October Ervin Bonecz becomes managing director

Tamás Mérei is the new director from March

Tamás Vásáry is the honorary chairman and conductor if the orchestra for the season 2009-10

The orchestra has celebrated its 35th anniversary

Gergely Madaras is the orchestra’s newly elected principal conductor

New director of the orchestra is hornist Barna Kiss


  • Albert, István: Szombathely Concerto
  • Békefi, Antal (notes): The history of the Savaria Symphony Orchestra 1948 – 1970,
  • Bikárdi, László: The Concert Life of Szombathely after World War II, and the Role of the Philharmonic,
  • Dr. Ujváry, Ede: 25 years of Szombathely’s Musical Life,
  • Horváth, Rezső: A Musical Mirror of Szombathely,
  • Szabó, Árpádné Szeder Gabriella: Szombathely’s musical life after World War II with special attention to the history of the Szombathely Philharmonic Society and its legal successor, the Savaria Symphony Orchestra,
  • Articles from newspapers, journals and periodicals: Nyugatmagyarország, Szombathelyi Ujság, Vasmegyei Lapok, Vasmegyei Közlöny, Hír, Vasmegye, Vasvármegye, Vas Népe, Vasi Szemle, Életünk, Pesti Napló, Muzsika,
  • CD-ROM published to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Bartók Béla Music School,
  • Relevant documents of the Vas County Archvies, and the Berzsenyi CountyLibrary arranged by Tákyné, Lukinits Zsuzsanna.