The prize is Hungary's highest honor for artists. Previous winners include composer Gy‹rgy Kurtšg, pianist Andršs Schiff, and composer Peter E‹tv‹s.
Born in Hungary, Fischer studied in Budapest and Vienna; he launched his conducting career in 1976 when he won London's Rupert Foundation conducting competition. Seven years later, he founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra and rapidly established the group as a world-class ensemble. He has also served as principal guest conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony and music director of the Op_ra National de Lyon, Northern Sinfonia, and Kent Opera.
Starting this fall, he will be the principal guest conductor of Washington's National Symphony.