Biography of Antal Doráti (1906-1988)

American born Hungarian composer and Orchestra Director. He was born in Budapest (Hungary) on April 9, 1906 and died in Gerzensee (Switzerland) on November 13, 1988.

Son of a professional violinist, Doráti studied at the Royal Academy of music in Hungary with two great figures of the 20th century Hungarian music: Zoltán Kodály and Béla Bartók. He simultanesus his musical studies with the philosophy at the University of Vienna. At age 18 he made his debut at the Budapest Opera as a conductor and, four years later, in 1928, he obtained the post of Assistant director of Fritz Busch in Dresden Opera. After this he took over during eight years of the musical direction of Les Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, company successor of which founded Serge Diaghilev.

In 1937 he appeared for the first time in the United States at the forefront of the National Symphony Orchestra, which would later go for seven years (1970-77). In 1941 he was appointed musical director of the New American Ballet Theater, office where he remained for four years. Dorati directed and reorganized also the Dallas Symphony Orchestra after the second World War (1945-48), and for eleven years he was musical director of the Symphony Orchestra of Minneapolis, which recorded more than a hundred disks between 1949 and 1960. He also conducted other orchestras such as the BBC (1963-66), the Detroit (1977-81) and, at the same time, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London between 1975 and 1979, which recorded the creation and the seasons by Joseph Haydn. His recordings also include the complete symphonies by the aforementioned Austrian composer, recorded between 1969 and 1973 with the Philharmonia Hungarica.

His debut in Covent Garden London as director of operas took place in 1962 with Rimsky-Korsakovgolden rooster. Due to his great interest in the music of composers of his time, Dorati premiered (1949) Bartók Viola Concerto and Concerto for Orchestra of Gerhard (1965) among many other orchestral works.

Dorati wrote over twenty works of which are his two symphonies, a Missa Brevis (1959), cantata for baritone The camera two Encantments of Li-Tai-Po (1958) and a violin concerto. He also made orchestral arrangements of works by authors such as Johann Strauss.

He has received awards in many countries. Among them are the Knight of Arts and letters by the French Government, Knight of the Swedish Vasa order and Knight of the British Empire in 1984. He acquired U.S. citizenship in 1947. He published his autobiography, titled Notes of Seven Decades, in 1979.

Selected discography

Haydn, j..: The creation. Performers: Argo Chamber Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Brighton Festival Chorus. Director: A. Dorati, L. Heltay. PDG/LONDON CLASSICS 43027.