Zoltán Kocsis

His international career started at his age of 18 when he  won the Beethoven Competition hosted by the Hungarian Radio. Only a few years was enough to him to conquer the international music world with lots of invitations to the key music centres and festivals of Europe, North and South-America and the Far-East including a request from Sviatoslav Richter, to perform at his festival in France, and the two pianists also gave duet recitals together.  Zoltán Kocsis performed with the leading orchestras of the world including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Chicago symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony. He is a recurring guest star of numorous prestigious international music festivals of Edinburgh, Paris, Tours, Luzern, Salzburg, Prague, Menton, working with outstanding conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Christoph von Dohnányi, Edo de Waart, Charles Mackerras, Lovro von Matacic, Charles Dutiot, Herbert Blomstedt and Michael Tilson Thomas.

Kocsis a zongoránál fotó Fejér Gábor

In 1983, he co-founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Iván Fischer, and since 1987 has regularly conducted in addition to hiscareer as a soloist. His excellent piece – the third movement of Schönberg’s unfinished opera, Moses and Aron – proves his remarkable skills in composition too. His fruitful cooperation with the outstanding figures of contemporary music is marked by numerous world premier pieces by György Kurtág, dedicated to Zoltán Kocsis.

In Autumn 1997, he became general music director of the National Philharmonic Orchestra (formerly the Hungarian State Orchestra). As a result, the orchestra’s repertoire has broadened considerably, and since his appointment, several works have been given their world premiere.

Over the last few years he made several tours in different countries of Europe, in Japan and in the US, conducting the National Philharmonic Orchestra with a great critical acclaim and public success. Piano works of Bartók, Debussy and Ravel transcripted by Kocsis were often performed at their concerts. The achievements of the renewed orchestra were unanimously celebrated by professionals and concert-goers as well.

In January 2004, Zoltán Kocsis was bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Cannes Midem, where he also received the distinguished French honour, Le Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France’s minister of culture, awarded for his supreme efforts popularising French music and for the entirety of his work as a musician. In March 2005, his work was, for the second time after 1978, acknowledged with the Kossuth Prize. On 25th of March 2006. at the 125 anniversary of Bartók’s birth,  he won the Bartók-Pásztory Award. On the 23rd of January 2007, the Minister of Education and Culture appointed Zoltán Kocsis “Global Ambassador of Hungarian Culture”. On the 30th of May 2012, on his 60th birthday he was granted by the Corvin Chain expressing the respect of the Hungarian nation towards him.



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