01 June 2018
The celebrated conductor is the ninth Hungarian to receive the prestigious Wolf Prize, one of the most esteemed awards worldwide. Following in the footsteps of György Ligeti, Fischer is the second Hungarian artist to be given this prize. The jury not only valued his outstanding musical career but highlighted his commitment to human rights as well.
On May 31 2018, the President of Israel handed over the Wolf Prizes in the fields of agriculture, physics, chemistry, mathematics and the arts (music this year) in the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset. This year two artists were honoured in the music category, Sir Paul McCartney, the Beatles legend and the renowned Hungarian conductor, Ádám Fischer.
The Hungarian artist was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1949. Mr. Fischer is the honorary member of the Vienna State Opera, head conductor of the Düsseldorf Symphony, and founder of the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra in Eisenstadt. He is frequently invited to work in Bayreuth, Salzburg and Milano as well.
Ádám Fischer has always been committed to defending human rights. He has supported several civil society organizations and established human rights awards in Dusseldorf and Kassel. He is a longtime member of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. In their public statement the jury not only acknowledged his outstanding lifetime achievement as an artist but also his social commitment as an advocate of human rights.
In his acceptance speech in the Knesset, Mr. Fischer emphasized: ”Human rights groups are increasingly seen in more and more countries as adverseries of the state. In my native Hungary, the government recently tried to do everything in its power to make the work of civil right activists illegal. But the problem is not limited to Hungary, the distrust against defenders of civil rights is a growing phenomenon worldwide. And in these times it is very important to say again and again that defending the rule of law is one of the most important issues in a democracy. We are not attacking the state, we are defending its democracy. Instead of fighting them, democratic governments should welcome having civil rights movements in their countries.”
Mr. Fischer has decided to generously donate the prize money complementing the award to the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. In her thank you remarks Ms Márta Pardavi, co-chair of the Helsinki Committee said: ”We are especially grateful to our friend Ádám Fischer for his generous donation. This means a lot to us. We will dedicate the money to defending civil rights, specifically to our new program ’Everyday Heroes’. This will further enable us to give free of charge legal support to those citizens who have been harassed by the authorities for standing up for their own rights or for defending those of their communities.”