Tamás Vásáry

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Tamás Vásáry (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈtɒmaːʃ ˈvaːʃaːri]; born 11 August 1933) is a Hungarian concert pianist and conductor.

Biography and career[edit]

Vásáry was born in Debrecen, Hungary, and made his stage debut at the age of 8, performing Mozart's Piano Concerto in D major, K.107 in the city of his birth, where he gave a solo recital the following year. He then began to concertize regularly as a child prodigy. It was at this time that he was introduced to Ernő Dohnányi, the leading figure of musical life in Hungary, who made a unique exception by offering to accept the gifted youth as a pupil in spite of his age. Vásáry studied only a short time under his tutelage, however, as Dohnányi soon left Hungary.

He also studied with József Gát and Lajos Hernádi at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, and was later assistant there to Zoltán Kodály, who made him a gift of a Steinway piano to help the emerging talent.

At the age of 14 Vásáry won first prize in the Franz Liszt competition at the Academy of Music in Budapest, in 1947. He left Hungary in 1956 and settled in Switzerland. He made his débuts in the major cities of the West in 1960 and 1961. He has subsequently resided in London, England. He has made many recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, particularly of the Romantic repertoire, especially Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

As a conductor, Vásáry served as joint artistic director of the Northern Sinfonia from 1979 to 1982, sharing the post with Iván Fischer. With the Northern Sinfonia Vásáry recorded the Chopin piano concertos, directing from the keyboard.[1] Vásáry was later Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, from 1989 to 1997. Between 1993 and 2004 he was the Principal Conductor of the Hungarian Radio Orchestra. He has guest conducted many of the principal British orchestras as well as appearing regularly in the United States and elsewhere as pianist and conductor.

He was awarded the UNESCO Mozart Medal in 2012 in recognition of his talent and dedication to the universal values that inspire UNESCO.


Vásáry has recorded under six different labels: Supraphon, Deutsche Grammophon, Chandos Records, Academy Sound and Vision, Collins Classic and Hungaroton. He has recorded over 20 albums of the music of Liszt, Chopin, Brahms, Debussy, Rachmaninoff and Mozart with Deutsche Grammophon. In 1991 his recording of works by Liszt released by the Academy of Sound and Vision won the Grand Prize in Hungary, and his recording of Dohnányi's violin concerto released by Hungaroton won the Midem Prize. As a conductor, he has also recorded the complete Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Brahms symphonies with Hungaroton.


  1. ^ Griffiths, Bill, Northern Sinfonia. Northumbria University Press, pp. 19-20 (ISBN 1904794076).

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Christopher Seaman
Artistic Director, Northern Sinfonia
1979–1982 (with Iván Fischer)
Succeeded by
Richard Hickox
Preceded by
Roger Norrington
Principal Conductor, Bournemouth Sinfonietta
Succeeded by
Alexander Polianichko