The Youth Wind Orchestra of Székesfehérvár

The Orchestra was established in 1989 by conductor Zoltán Bíró, who recruited children from the Hermann László Music School. The Orchestra developed quickly and had widespread international relations in a short time.

In the first few years, the Orchestra toured Mooskirchen (Austria) in 1990 and 1993, in 1991 it visited the partner city of Székesfehérvár in Germany, Schwäbisch Gmünd, in 1992 the English partner cities Chorley and Barnsley, and a year later Príbor (Czech Republic) and Pianello Valessina (Italy).

The first significant success came in 1997 when the Orchestra performed in the 45th European Neerpelt Festival in Belgium, where it gained a “First Prize with Honours” in the Brass Band category, for the first time in the history of the Festival. In the same year, the Orchestra performed successfully in Vöcklabruck, Austria, at the famous Music-Maxx Music Festival.

These outstanding events were followed by a series of tours in most countries of Europe. In 1999, the Orchestra played in Italy again, invited by the band of Marcallo con Casone, near Milan. In May 2002, the Orchestra was honoured with a first prize again at the 50th European Neerpelt Festival in Belgium. In August 2003, the Orchestra was invited to Italy by the brass band of Spezzano della Sila in Calabria, Southern Italy. The Orchestra gave two acclaimed performances under extraordinary conditions: the venues of the concerts were 1100 and 1300 m above sea level. In June 2004 the Orchestra toured the city of Zlín in the Czech Republic.

From 8–14 October 2005 the Orchestra took part in the festival called 6th International Festival of Brass Bands and Majorettes, together with the Majorettes of Kisbér, Hungary. The festival, whose beautiful venue was 30 km from Barcelona, hosted 22 bands and majorette groups from all over Europe: Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Hungary. The bands performed I front of a strict international jury. Our band, altogether consisting of 80 people, was awarded with the third prize, losing no more than 0.5 point to the winner of the second prize.

In June 2006 the Orchestra performed at the 6th International Brass Band Festival of Jeseník, Czech Republic. In 2007 and 2009 the Orchestra returned to Italy, first hosted by the brass band of Biella, a small town in Northern Italy, then the band of Novara.

In May 2011 the Orchestra participated in a Brass Band Festival in Kaliningrad, Russia, where it was the first orchestra ever to perform from a country outside Russia. During this festival, the Orchestra had the honour of performing together with the Presidential Brass Orchestra of the Russian Federation.

In March 2014 the Orchestra has accepted the invitation of the Music School of Nienburg, Germany. The Orchestra was asked to perform the pieces of well-known composers on Hungarian topics and the popular pieces of Hungarian composers.

The major sponsor of our Orchestra is the Municipality of Székesfehérvár. Their support helped the Orchestra in its travels abroad, and facilitated its participation at festivals, as well as the creation of the Orchestra’s own festival, the Brass Band Festival of Székesfehérvár, the first instance of which took place in 1994, and the festival has become a tradition since that time. It is organised every two years and has hosted the bands of several countries like Transylvania (Romania), the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Finland, Israel, Germany, and Italy.

In 1998, the year of the third Brass Band Festival of Székesfehérvár, the Orchestra earned the certificate of “Gold Certificate Concert Orchestra” with its carefully selected programme. In April 2007, during its traditional Spring Concert, the Orchestra earned a Gold Certificate again. In this instance, the Orchestra was also awarded the best certification in the “Show” category. One week after the certification concert the Orchestra played at the opening gala of the 9th European Youth Music Festival, together with the Veszprém Brass Band. The 82-strong Orchestra performed the “Rákóczi March” of Berlioz in front of an audience of 3000 people. The concert was broadcast live on the Hungarian Television.

In 2009, the Orchestra gave a Jubilee Concert in Vörösmarty Theatre in Székesfehérvár, commemorating the 20 years of its existence. The wonderful evening was the goodbye concert of the first conductor, Zoltán Bíró. The conductor’s baton was handed to Tamás Kovács, a teacher of the Hermann László Music School of Székesfehérvár.

From autumn 2013 the Orchestra had a new conductor called László Gede sr., retired lieutenant-colonel who graduated as a conductor from the famous Tchaikovsky Academy in Moscow in 1983. Following his graduation he was the conductor of the Military Brass Orchestra of Székesfehérvár between 1983 and 2001. His arrival gave a new drive to the Orchestra.

In November 2014, the Orchestra celebrated its 25th anniversary with a memorable concert.

As can be seen, our Orchestra has come a long way in the last 25 years. It has played more than 250 pieces of music, from marches and Renaissance dances through Bartók to Bernstein, from high standard popular music to film scores. In 1992 the Orchestra issued two cassettes (MC) and in 1999 a double album (CD). This was followed by several other recordings, most of which reproduce the most successful pieces from the Orchestra’s concerts.

The citizens of Székesfehérvár know our Orchestra very well as there are several concerts and open-air concerts held in the city. Some of the most remarkable concerts of the Orchestra: a performance titled “Instruments of the wind band” together with Árpád Balázs, the “Millecentenary ’96” with Jászai Mari-prize winning actor Tibor Bicskei, the New Year’s Eve Concert in 1997 with Jászai Mari-prize winning actor Péter Balázs. In January 2001 the Orchestra held an opera and operetta gala, featuring opera singer Kázmér Sárkány, soloist of the Hungarian State Opera, who performed evergreen opera and operetta songs with the accompaniment of the Brass Orchestra: among others “Wine Song” (Bordal) from the Hungarian national opera Bánk Bán and the “Germont Aria” from La Traviata. More than 1500 spectators listened to the medley of songs from Lehár Ferenc’s operetta “The Happy Widow” (A víg özvegy) and Kálmán Imre’s operetta “Csárdás Queen” (Csárdáskirálynő). The concert also included the Children’s Chorus from Bizet’s “Carmen”.

Main successes:

  • 1997 – 45th. Europian Music Festival, Neerpelt (Belgium) – in category “Wind bands”: “erste Preis cum laude” classification – the first time in the history of the festival
  • 1997 – “Music-Maxx” Music Festival, Vöcklabruck (Austria) – Festival Prize
  • 1998 – Gold classification in Concert Band category
  • 2002 – 50th. Europian Music Festival, Neerpelt (Belgium) – in category of Wind Bands: “erste Preis”
  • 2005 – 6th. International Wind Band and Majorette Festival, Malgrat de Mar (Spain) – 3rd Prize
  • 2007 – next Gold classification in Concert Band and Show category

Concert tours:

  • 1990 – Mooskirchen (Austria)
  • 1991 – Schwäbisch Gmünd (Germany)
  • 1992 – Chorley és Barnsley (England)
  • 1993 – Mooskirchen (Austria)
  • 1995 – Príbor (Czech Republic)
  • 1995 – Pianello Vallesina (Italy)
  • 1997 – Neerpelt (Belgium)
  • 1997 – Vöcklabruck (Austria)
  • 1999 – Príbor (Czech Republic)
  • 1999 – Marcallo con Casone (Italy)
  • 2002 – Neerpelt (Belgium)
  • 2002 – Pribor (Czech Republic)
  • 2003 – Spezzano della Sila, (Italy)
  • 2004 – Zlín (Czech Republic)
  • 2005 – Malgrat de Mar (Spain)
  • 2006 – Jeseník (Czech Republic)
  • 2007 – Biella, (Italy)
  • 2009 – Novara (Italy)
  • 2011 – Kalinyingrád (Russia)
  • 2014 – Nienburg (Germany)
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