The most beautiful concert hall in Budapest, located along the Danube Promenade in Pest, was completed in 1864, replacing an earlier concert hall (designed by Mihály Pollack) destroyed in the Hungarian War of Independence in 1848-1849. The first Redoute was opened in January 1833 with a grand ball, yet, for all merriments, it was also a venue of the highest culture – the only concert hall in Pest at the time. Both Johann Strauss the Elder and the Younger and Ferenc Erkel performed here several times. It was also here that Ferenc Liszt gave the first concert after the great flood of 1838 for charity. The Redoute however was to have a short career; in May 1849, it fell victim to the the artillery fire of the invading Austrian troops. In 1859 Frigyes Feszl was commissioned to design a new building, with which he sought to create a Hungarian style. The new edifice, now called Vigadó, was opened in 1864.

Redoute’s style is best described as Oriental and Hungarian Art Nouveau mingling with romance and a rich addition of uniquely pleasing details, down to perfection. The architect was Frigyes Feszl, while Károly Lotz and Mór Than, star artists of the age, have painted the ballad themed-frescoes of the interior. The façade of the palace is decorated by the Hungarian Coat of Arms and the likenesses of outstanding figures in Hungarian history. After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, the city leased the Vigadó, which then hosted a variety of programmes, including city council meetings. Two or three decades following its opening, the Vigadó had a busy schedule of balls. Its managers thought up all kinds of ways to make their programme stand out among others. They thus put up ice balls, fancy-dress parties with characters from the novels of Mór Jókai or pageants of the events of Hungarian history. The most luxurious ball to be hosted at the Vigadó was the one organized by the National Rowing and Sailing Association in 1870, with a rich order of dances, lavish props, a sailor-suit military band, and a goldfish pool. The most noteworthy ball was the one commemorating István Széchenyi, known in Hungary as “the greatest Hungarian”. In 1867 Emperor Franz Joseph attended the banquet hosted by the Vigadó in honour of his coronation, and it was also here that Budapest was born by the merger of the old cities of Pest, Buda and Óbuda (old Buda). The Vigadó also hosted performances by the likes of Johann Strauss Jr., Mascagni, Dvořak, Debussy, and Arthur Rubinstein. Ernő Dohnányi had his first solo concert here. Béla Bartók and Annie Fischer made their debuts here in 1905 and 1932 respectively. Richard Strauss conducted from the rostrum of the Vigadó several times, and Prokofiev also appeared on its stage as a pianist. Beside classical music, jazz had also founds its way into the Vigadó programme. Teddy Sinclair conducted the Savoy Orphée band with a flashlight as a baton in 1928, and an outstanding twenty-four-piano jazz concert was organized here by the Saxon Concert Office in the spring of 1937.

The building of the Vigadó was seriously damaged in World War II. In 1968, construction work started with several of its parts demolished for complete transformation. To improve acoustics, prism lamps in a plaster casing were affixed to the ceiling, lowering headroom by five metres. The rebuilt Vigadó was opened to the public on 15th March 1980. The main auditorium of the Vigadó now shines in its original beauty,  the frescos and sculptures, the main staircase, the lobby and the music room have been fully restored to their former grandeur. This jewel of the Danube bank was also provided with new spaces: a lecture and an exhibition hall on the fifth floor and a terrace on the sixth floor with a magnificent view of Buda. World-famous performers to appear on the stage of the new Vigadó included György Cziffra, Dénes Kovács, Eszter Perényi, Miklós Szenthelyi, and Sviatoslav Richter. Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi conducted the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra here as well.