He was born in Budapest on April 9 1906 and
rose to become the youngest ever conductor of the Royal Opera
House in his native city soon after graduating at age 18. In 1928
he went to Dresden as assistant to Fritz Busch and subsequently
was engaged as conductor at the opera house in Münster/Westfalia,
where he stayed until 1933. From 1934-1941 he was first second
conductor, later music director of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo
and, subsequently, of the American
Ballett Theater in New York. His American debut as
a symphony conductor came in 1937, when he guest-conducted the National
Symphony in Washington, D.C. He became an American citizen
in 1947. From 1945-1949 Doráti directed and greatly revitalized
Symphony. He became music director of the Minneapolis
Symphony in 1949, where he stayed for 11 years.
In 1963 he was appointed Chief conductor of the
Orchestra, a post he held for 4 years. This was followed
by a similiar position with the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
(from 1965-1972). Parallel to his European activities he became
music director of the National Symphony in Washington in
1970, followed by the same position 1977 in Detroit. At the same
time (since 1975) Antal Doráti accepted the Royal
Philharmonic's invitation to become their chief conductor.
From 1981 he became "Conductor Laureate" for life of 3 orchestras
(RPO London, Stockholm
Philharmonic and Detroit
Antal Doráti's recording
activities commenced in 1936, his total number of recordings
reached nearly 600. Many of them won international prices,
amongst others 32 "Grand Prix".His most important recording
project was the complete recording of the 107 Haydn symphonies
and 8 of the composer's operas.
Antal Doráti's influence in the musical
world has been highly significant, not only as a conductor. He
has an impressive number of compositions
to his credit, which are performed worldwide more and more.
His teaching activities include regular masterclasses
at the Royal College of music in London as well as at the Music
Academy in Budapest. Both institutions made him their honorary member.
Also masterclasses at the Salzburg Festival, Dartington and Bern
- Basel are mentionable.
His autobiography "Notes
of seven decades" was published in 1975. A second book "For
inner and outer peace" - a subject which interested him
greatly during his last years- was edited after his death in 1988.
In this period he also returned to his other talents, which included
drawing and painting.
His distinctions included the post of Honorary
President of the Philharmonia
Hungarica, four honorary doctor degrees, the rank of Chevalier
of the order of Vasa of Sweden, the Cross of Honour, 1st
class "Artibus et Litteris" of Austria, the order of "Chevalier
des Arts et Lettres" de France and others. The
Royal Academy of Music in London honoured Antal Doráti by
appointing him an Hon.R.A.M. And in 1983 her Majesty the Queen
appointed him an Hon. KBE(Knight of the British Empire) in recognition
for his service to music in Britain.
Antal Doráti died in his Swiss home in
Gerzensee on november 13, 1988.