Hungarian pianist, conductor and composer Zoltán Kocsis was born in Budapest on 30 May 1952. He studied music from the age of five, and went to the Béla Bartók Conservatory in 1963 to study piano and composition and the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in 1968, where his teachers included György Kurtág.
In 1970 he won the Hungarian Radio Beethoven Competition, in 1973 the Liszt Prize and in 1978 the Kossuth Prize.
As a pianist he gave recitals throughout Europe, and performed with the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden and the Vienna Philharmonic. He also recorded Bartók's complete solo piano works and complete works for piano and orchestra. Since the late 1970s he has recorded exclusively for Philips Classics.
He co-founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Iván Fischer in 1983, and was principal conductor of the Hungarian National Philharmonic from 1997 until his death in Budapest on 6 November 2016, aged sixty-four, following a long illness.
A selection of M&V articles about Zoltán Kocsis
CD Spotlight. Perfectly Adequate - Jacques Rouvier's Debussy Préludes, heard by Julian Jacobson. '... the performances lack a degree of intensity and personal involvement.'
Ensemble. Beethoven in Budapest - The MÁV Symphony Orchestra with Zoltán Kocsis, reviewed by Karen Haid