Obituary: Hungarian pianist/conductor Zoltan Kocsis, 64

Posted on: November 7, 2016

“Zoltan Kocsis, a famed pianist and conductor and musical director of the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, has died at age 64,” writes Pablo Gorondi in a Sunday (11/6) Associated Press report. “The Philharmonic said Kocsis died Sunday afternoon. No specific cause of death was given, but Kocsis underwent major heart surgery in 2012. Last month, the orchestra announced that he was suffering from poor health and, following doctors’ orders, cancelling most of his concerts to rest and recuperate…. Kocsis founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra in 1983 with Ivan Fischer and became musical director of the Philharmonic in 1997. ‘Zoltan Kocsis was a musical giant, one of the rare geniuses,’ Fischer said on his Facebook page.… Born in Budapest on May 30, 1952, Kocsis … at age 18 … won Hungarian Radio’s Beethoven piano competition. Kocsis was considered the foremost piano interpreter of Hungarian composers Bela Bartók and Gyorgy Kurtag, as well as a distinguished performer of works by Claude Debussy and Sergei Rachmaninoff…. After taking over the Philharmonic, then still known as the State Concert Orchestra, Kocsis controversially required the existing musicians to audition … In 2003, Kocsis took the orchestra on its first U.S. tour in 18 years.”

Posted November 7, 2016