Ervin Acél (conductor)

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Ervin Acel few months before his death
Ervin Acél in Oradea

Ervin Acél (3 June 1935 – 24 August 2006) was a Romanian conductor and pedagogue.


Ervin Acél was born in Timişoara, the son of a Jewish physician, Móricz Acél, and his wife. He studied in the musical high school in his home town as well as in the Conservatories of Bucharest and of Cluj-Napoca. He began his conducting career in Botoșani, where he was active from 1960-63.

From 1965-92 he was Chief Conductor of the Oradea Philharmonic Orchestra, in which capacity he also acted as their Administrative Director from 1980-89. He succeeded in greatly raising the artistic level of the ensemble which soon developed into one of Romania's finest orchestras. Besides his numerous concerts, he released some 30 gramophone recordings. During his tenure, he paid special attention to two important composers who had lived in Oradea: Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf and also Michael Haydn, whose symphonies he was the first to record commercially. For a short period between 1981–83, Acél was the director of the Istanbul State Opera and Ballet.

From 1991-99 he was the Director and Chief Conductor of the Szeged Symphony Orchestra, the second most important orchestra in Hungary. His performances met with great popular success and during this period he performed a most eclectic repertoire ranging from baroque to modern music.[citation needed]

With this orchestra he toured extensively, giving performances in 1997 in Portugal (where he appeared with the mezzo-soprano Agnes Baltsa), Russia, Italy and Korea. He also conducted the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Washington Philharmonic Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and participated in many international festivals such as the "Giornale Musicale di Vicenza", and the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome.[citation needed]

Acél was a consummate master of the Viennese Classical Style, giving remarkable performances of the music of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Richard Strauss. Possessing a fabulous conducting technique, an extraordinary artistic temperament, and a refined sense for orchestral sound, balance and color, he was also an inspired interpreter of the Russian and French repertories and moreover a specialist of the music of Béla Bartók.[citation needed]

Ervin Acèl was an outstanding teacher of orchestral conducting, first organizing masterclasses for young conductors in Romania from 1983, in Hungary (Szeged) from 1992–99, and in Austria (Vienna) from 1996. These courses became well known internationally, attracting numerous students from all over the world. Acél, a polyglot, established an easy rapport with the multinational groups of students, alternating with facility between English, German, Italian, French and also his two mother-tongues, Hungarian and Romanian.[citation needed]

His method of instruction was deliberate and considerate and the results most impressive. From 1996, Acél taught conducting at the renowned Vienna Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst (formerly the Academy of Music and today the Vienna University of Music) in tandem with the Austrian conductor, Leopold Hager, until his death in 2006.

In Italy he performed at Castelgandolfo for Pope John Paul II, conducting the Dances from Galanta by Zoltán Kodály with the Philharmonia Hungarica. Besides his teaching responsibilities in Vienna, he continued to conduct in Oradea (from 1999), Satu Mare, Timisoara and several other Romanian and Hungarian cities and also toured throughout Asia (Korea, Taiwan, Japan).[citation needed]


After a long disease. Acél died on 24 August 2006 in Vienna, aged 71.[citation needed]



Ervin Acél; Oradea Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Michael Haydn: Symphony, p. 52, Symphony, p. 42, Pastorello in C major, p. 91, Symphony, p. 28, Symphony, p. 26, Symphony, p. 29;

Ervin Acél; Oradea Philharmonic Orchestra/Soloists: Gheorghe Ille, Ecaterina Botar, Alexandru Iosif Turzo


Ervin Acél; Oradea Philharmonic Orchestra;

  • Michael Haydn: Concerto, B flat major, p. 53, Concerto, C major, P.55

Ervin Acél; Oradea Philharmonic Orchestra;

  • Michael Haydn: Symphony, p. 10, Symphony, p. 20, Symphony, p. 11

Ervin Acél; Oradea Philharmonic Orchestra / Soloist: Naum Buchmann;


Ervin Acél; Szeged Symphony Orchestra

  • Dmitry Kabalevsky: Symphony No. 1 in C sharp minor, op. 18, Symphony No.2 in C minor, op. 19

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