Istvan Kertész

1929 - 1973

German Conductor (of Hungarian origin)

Born 28 August 2020 - Budapest

Died 16 April 2020 - Kfar Saba (Israel)

Carnival Overture op. 92 by Dvorak
Kertész conducting the LSO in 1966

At the Budapest Liszt Academy, Kertész studied first piano and composition with Zoltán Kodály and Leó Weiner, then conducting with Lászloó Somogyi (1949-1953). He was influenced by Bruno Walter and the then music director of the Budapest Opera, Otto Klemperer who encouraged and advised him. From 1953 to 1955, he was a conductor in Györ before becoming director of music of the Budapest Opera (until 1957). In 1957, Kertész emigrated to West Germany, where, after resuming his studies under Fernando Previtali at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, he became chief conductor at the Augsburg Opera (1958-1963), and then chief conductor at the Cologne Opera (from 1964).

At Cologne, he conducted the German first performances of Verdi's "Sitffelio" and Britten's "Billy Budd" as well as numerous Mozart operas ("La clemenza di Tito", "Don Giovanni", "Così fan tutte", "Die Zauberflöte"). At the Salzburger Festpiele 1961, he conducted Mozart's "Die Entführung aus dem Serail". From 1965 to 1968, he also was chief conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. In 1965, he conducted Verdi's "Un ballo di maschera" at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (London). He was a frequent guest to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic and numerous other orchestras.

Shortly after being appointed chief conductor of the Bamberger Symphoniker in 1973 and during a recreational trip between concerts on a tour with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Kertész was drowned in a bathing accident.

Kertész was best known for his performances and recordings of the great twentieth-century classics (Bartók, Kodály and Stravinsky), much of it with the London Symphony Orchestra, and for his Romantic repertoire with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

He was a popular conductor with orchestra musicians, capable of raising morale among his players with his ability to capture "atmosphere" in concert.

Other Musicians Gallery Tributes