Halász, László, Hungarian-born American conductor; b. Debrecen, June 6, 1905. He studied piano and conducting at the Budapest Cons., graduating in 1929. He toured Europe as a pianist and conductor until emigrating to the U.S. in 1936, where he became a naturalized American citizen in 1943. He was music director of the St. Louis Grand Opera (1937--42). In 1944he was appointed music director of the N.Y.C. Opera, where he established an audacious policy of producing modern operas, but became embroiled in personal difficulties with the management, and resigned in 1951. From 1949 to 1952 he conducted opera in Chicago, and from 1955 to 1959 was conductor of the German repertoire at the Barcelona Opera. He served as artistic director of N.Y./s Empire State Music Festival (1957–65) and the National Grand Opera (from 1983). He was head of the conducting dept. at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. (1965–67), then was on the faculty of the State Univ. of N.Y. Coll. at Old Westbury (1968–71) andat Stony Brook (1971–75).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire