Doráti, Antal, distinguished Hungarian-born American conductor and composer; b. Budapest, April 9, 1906; d. Gerzensee, near Bern, Nov. 13, 1988. He studied with Leo Weiner, both privately and at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, where he also received instruction in composition from Kodály (1920–24). He was on the staff of the Budapest Opera (1924–28); after conducting at the Dresden State Opera (1928–29), he was Generalmusikdirektor in Munster (1929–32). In 1933 he went to France, where he conducted the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, which he took on a tour of Australia (1938). He made his U.S. debut as guest conductor with the National Sym. Orch. in Washington, D.C., in 1937. In 1940 he settled in the U.S., becoming a naturalized citizen in 1947. He began his American career as music director of the American Ballet Theatre in N.Y (1941–44); after serving as conductor of the Dallas Sym. Orch. (1945–9), he was music director of the Minneapolis Sym. Orch. (1949–60). From 1963 to 1966 he was chief conductor of the BBC Sym. Orch. in London; then of the Stockholm Phil. (1966–70). He was music director of the National Sym. Orch. in Washington, D.C. (1970–77), and of the Detroit Sym. Orch. (1977–81); was also principal conductor of the Royal Phil, in London (1975–79). He made numerous guest conducting appearances in Europe and North America, earning a well- deserved reputation as an orch. builder. His prolific recording output made him one of the best-known conductors of his time. His recordings of Haydn operas and all the Haydn syms. were particularly commendable. In 1984 he was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 1969 he married Use von Alpenheim, who often appeared as a soloist under his direction. His autobiography was publ. as Notes of Seven Decades (London, 1979).
Divertimenton for Orch.; Graduation Ball, ballet, arranged from the waltzes of Johann Strauss; The Way of the Cross, dramatic cantata (Minneapolis, April 19, 1957); 2 syms.: No. 1 (Minneapolis, March 18, 1960) and No. 2, Querela pads (Detroit, April 24, 1986); 7 Pieces for Orch. (1961; perf. as a ballet, Maddalend); Piano Concerto (1974; Washington, D.C., Oct. 28, 1975); Cello Concerto (Louisville, Oct. 1,1976); chamber music.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire
BBC Symphony Orchestra
DORATI, ANTAL (1906–1988), conductor and composer. Dorati was born in Budapest and entered the Budapest Royal Academy of Music at the age of 14, studying piano, conducting, and composition, and graduating at the age of 18. From 1924 to 1928 he was conductor at the Budapest Royal Opera House, subsequently becoming assistant to Fritz Busch at the Dresden State Opera, and at the same time conducting opera and concerts in other cities. In 1932 he became musical director of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, with whom he toured widely and remained until 1940. Dorati's subsequent career focused principally on the United States: he was conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (1945–49) and of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (1949–60), with whom he made many records. He was chief conductor of the bbc Symphony Orchestra from 1962 to 1966; and thereafter became musical director of the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (from 1966) and later, concurrently, of the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington, d.c. (from 1969), with whom he had made his American debut, in 1937. Dorati's fine international reputation was based on his prowess as an orchestra builder; as a devoted advocate of contemporary music, with particular understanding of Bartok and Stravinsky; and as a conductor of many fine recordings. In 1973 he completed the formidable task of recording all the 107 Haydn symphonies, most of them for the first time. His many compositions include symphonies, a cello concerto, and choral and chamber music; he also made many ballet arrangements.
[Max Loppert (2nd ed.)]