Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer, conductor, arranger, music teacher, and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era. Considered one of the greatest pianists ever, Liszt's works influenced his contemporaries and successors alike. Perhaps his greatest legacy is his work as a teacher, although his rich body of work might suggest otherwise; he taught people like Karl Klindworth among other pianists.
Georg Solti was an operatic and orchestral conductor. He is best remembered for his association with opera companies in London, Frankfurt, and Munich. He also worked with the popular Chicago Symphony Orchestra where he served as a music director for a long time. Solti became the subject of a 1987 biographical TV documentary titled This Is Your Life.
Born in Hungary, Miklós Rózsa was a music prodigy and learned to play the violin at age 5. After studying music in Germany, he pursued his music career in France, the UK, and the US. He is remembered for his Academy Award-winning scores in movies such as Ben-Hur and Spellbound.
Born to Holocaust survivors, Hungarian-born pianist Andras Schiff began learning the piano at age 5. He is now best known for his interpretations of legends such as of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. His numerous awards include a Grammy. He was also knighted for his achievements.
Born in Hungary, Eugene Ormandy was inspired by his amateur violinist father to take up violin lessons as a child. By age 17, he was himself a professor of violin. After moving to the US, he would initially compose for silent films. He later received 2 Grammy Awards and was also knighted.
Legendary Czech composer Julius Fučík, also known as the Bohemian Sousa, initially played the bassoon for the Austro-Hungarian Regiment and then bagged a job with the German opera theater in Prague. His best-known marches include the Florentine March and Entrance of the Gladiators. He spent his final years in Berlin.
Hungarian musical legend Zoltán Kocsis, often compared to American conductor Leonard Bernstein, had started learning the piano at age 5. While he later soared to fame with concerts and music festivals, he later won accolades for his recordings of Béla Bartók and Debussy. He also later co-established the Budapest Festival Orchestra.
Legendary Hungarian-American violinist and composer Leopold Auer was born into a family of painters but chose to learn the violin instead. He initially played for the music-loving bling king of Hanover and later taught violin at Russia’s Saint Petersburg Conservatory. His students include Mischa Elman and Jascha Heifetz.
Hungarian violinist and composer Joseph Joachim was trained in Budapest and London before he became the director of the Hochschule für Ausübende Tonkunst in Berlin. He formed the Joachim Quartet and gained fame as a music teacher. He is best known for his versions of works by legends such as Beethoven.
Apart from establishing the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Hungarian composer and conductor Iván Fischer also served as its music director. His work has taken him to places such as the US, the Netherlands, and Germany. He has also arranged innovative events, such as autism-friendly concerts and cocoa concerts for kids.
Hungarian-American conductor Antal Dorati was the son of a violinist father and a pianist mother. Joining the Liszt Academy at 14, he graduated to teach at the Budapest Royal Opera. Throughout his illustrious career, he was associated with many orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
The son of a math professor and an amateur cellist father, Ernő Dohnányi was taught the basics of music by his father at age 8. While he later taught in Berlin and Budapest, he was banned in Hungary for a decade by the communists. He later taught in Argentina and then the US.
Regarded as the founding father of Hungary’s grand opera, pianist and conductor Ferenc Erkel also composed Hungary’s national anthem. Born into a German-origin family of musicians, Erkel was initially trained in music by his father. He was later associated with the Academy of Music in Budapest as a director and piano teacher.
Over his illustrious career of almost 2 decades, Hungarian conductor Ferenc Fricsay became one of the greatest conductors of his time. After studying scores of instruments such as the piano, violin, and clarinet, he had started conducting at age 15. Mozart’s The Magic Flute remains his best-known recording.
One of the greatest 19th-century conductors, Arthur Nikisch was born to a Hungarian father and a Czech mother. Excelling as a student at the Vienna Conservatory, he later joined the Vienna Philharmonic. He was later associated with top-notch orchestras in Berlin, Budapest, and Boston. He also conducted the Ring Cycle operas.
Best remembered for his interpretations of Mozart, Hungarian pianist and conductor Geza Anda was associated with the Berlin Philharmonic but later moved to Switzerland and became a Swiss citizen. His music was known for its signature sentimental appeal and also consisted of Anda’s own cadenzas.
Hungarian pianist György Fischer was initially associated with the Vienna Opera, specializing in the works of Mozart. The Franz Liszt Academy alumnus later also performed at the Australian Opera and was the principal conductor at the Oper Koln Opera. He was married first to singer Lucia Popp and then to violinist Ida Bieler.
Hungarian-born violinist Janos Furst fled his country after the 1956 Soviet invasion and moved to Brussels and then to Paris. He then dominated the Irish music scene by establishing the Irish Chamber Orchestra and was the principal conductor at the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra. He also taught at the Paris Conservatoire.