The Kodály Philharmonic Debrecen is the o cial orchestra of the town and has been bearing its name since the autumn of 2011. From 1991 to 2011 they had been working as Debrecen Philharmonic Orchestra. Its sponsor is the Municipality of Debrecen.
May 13, 1923 was a decisive moment for the music of the Civis town, when the town’s philharmonic orchestra gave its rst solo concert. Their name was Debrecen MÁV Philharmonic Orchestra at that time, and it soon became the No.1 symphonic orchestra outside Budapest during the lead of Emil Ábrányi.
In 1951 Vilmos Rubányi was hired as conductor and the orchestra was declared independent in January, 1952 by MÁV, a er 29 years of operating. Since then the orchestra, beyond their concerts organized by National Philharmonia all over Hungary, have continued to participate in the opera performances of the Csokonai Theatre. The orchestra became one of the signi cant factors for the music of Hungary under the led of Rubányi. The Kodály Girls’ Choir founded by György Gulyás appeared more and more o en together with the orchestra and carried on a cultural mission all over Hungary as the orchestra of „Opera on Wheels” sponsored by MÁV.
Following the regime change the Municipality of Debrecen immediately recognized their value and role in the life of the town and the region, and they took over sponsoring under the name of Debrecen Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestra was led by leading Hungarian conductors like János Ferencsik, Ádám Medveczky, János Kovács, András Ligeti, Tamás Vásáry and Zoltán Kocsis, as well as several famous international conductors, like Carlo Zecchi, Lamberto Gardelli, Charles Dutoit, Karel Ancerl, and Kobayashi Ken-Ichiro in the last decades. Beyond Hungarian musicians, like Annie Fischer, Dezső Ránki, Zoltán Kocsis, Miklós Perényi, Jenő Jandó and
Gergely Bogányi, the orchestra gave concert with the contribution of Gideon Kremer, Martha Argerich, György Sándor, Sándor Végh, Lazar Bermann and Igor Oistrakh.
The orchestra has been working as Kodály Philharmonic Debrecen by the permission of Mrs. Kodály, Sarolta Péczely from October, 2011 as part of the Kodály Philharmonia Debrecen. Dániel Somogyi-Tóth has been the general and artistic director since 1 October 2011; he was the creator of the new image of the Kodály Philharmonics at the same time. He is the director of the institute of the merged two ensembles, undertaking coordination and development of the complete classical music of Debrecen; his tasks include providing more space, reputation and fame to the Kodály Philharmonic Debrecen in the music of Hungary, or even of the world and taking forward
the mission of Zoltán Kodály by the orchestra’s name, mission and art. Traditionally it is of essentially importance for the orchestra to interpret Hungarian compositions, even some contemporary ones, but the ensemble concerns about those requirements of the audience to listen to popular, frequently performed compositions; therefore the orchestra also participates in productions for the audience of pop music. Naturally the essence of the orchestral repertoire includes mainly the compositions of Zoltán Kodály. And since the orchestra is unique in the countryside to cooperate with a choir of such level, a decisive element of the repertoire is performing oratorios.
The orchestra has been invited several times to France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, South-Korea and Morocco, where they performed at famous festivals.