Antal Doráti

American orchestra conductor and composer (Budapest 1906 - Gerzensee, Suisse 1988)

Antal Doráti is part of the prestigious school of the conductors of Hungarian origins, like were Fritz Reiner, George Szell, Eugene Ormandy and Georg Solti. This artist internationally known defined himself as a "doctor of the orchestra". He held, one after the other, the offices of music director and kept on adding up experiences with only one goal: keep on working and improving the musical formations.

Antal Doráti did his musical education at the Budapest Music Academy, under Zoltán Kodály and Béla Bartók among others. In 1924, he became the youngest assisting conductor at the Budapest Royal Opera. Four years later, he was appointed assistant to Fritz Busch in Dresden and took the head of the Opera of Munster until 1933. Then, he became the music director (second conductor at first) of the Russian Ballets of Monte-Carlo until 1941. The same year, he moved to New-York and took the head of the American Ballet Theater and of the New York Opera Company. Antal Doráti's career took afterwards a decisive turn to the symphonic repertoire.

From 1945, he conducted the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and worked from 1949 to 1960 as the director of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. In 1963, he crossed the Atlantic for he had just been appointed main conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London for four years. As soon as 1965, he took the head of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra until 1972. In 1970, he went back to the United States as the music director of the Washington National Symphony, then in Detroit (1977). In 1975, he was appointed main conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London and would become one of its honorary conductors for life in 1981. He also held that honorific title with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Antal Doráti gave several master classes in prestigious institutions including the Royal College of Music in London and the Budapest Music Academy. Known of his memory exceptional gifts, he directed an impressive repertoire. He left more than 600 recordings, including the famous complete of the symphonies of Haydn. His compositions are still regularly played.

Six landmark dates in the life of Antal Doráti

• 1947: naturalized American
• 1949: conducts the creation of the Viola Concerto of Béla Bartók
• 1969: marries pianist Ilse von Alpenheim
• 1974: finishes the recordings of the complete 104 symphonies of Haydn
• 1979: his autobiography Notes of seven decades is published
• 1983: receives from the Queen of England the title of Knight of the British Empire 

Official website

Radio France documentation biography