Antal Dorati

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Doráti, Antal

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).

Works

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

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BBC Symphony Orchestra. Chief orch. of the BBC, formed 1930 with 114 (later 119) players on permanent contract. Has given f.ps. of many works by Brit. composers. Guest conds. have incl. the world's leading exponents, notably Toscanini. Chief conds. since inception: Adrian Boult 1931–50; Malcolm Sargent 1950–7; Rudolf Schwarz 1957–62; Antal Dorati 1962–6; Colin Davis 1967–71; Pierre Boulez 1971–5; Rudolf Kempe 1975–6; Gennady Rozhdestvensky 1978–81; John Pritchard 1981–9; Andrew Davis 1989–2000; Leonard Slatkin from 2000. Other BBC sym. orchs. are the Philharmonic (based in Manchester), Scottish (based in Glasgow), and Welsh (based in Cardiff and known from 1993 as BBC National Orchestra of Wales). The BBC Symphony Chorus was formed 1928 as National Chorus (at its 1st concert, 23 Nov. 1928, Bantock cond. f.p. of his Pilgrim's Progress). Name changed to BBC Chorus 1932, to BBC Choral Society 1935, to present title 1977. Up to 1976, ch. master was dir. of BBC Singers, but in that year separate appointment ( Brian Wright) was made.

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DORATI, ANTAL

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.)]

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Doráti, Antal (b Budapest, 1906; d Gerzensee, nr. Berne, 1988). Hung.-born conductor and composer (Amer. cit. 1947). Early career as opera cond. in Budapest (1924–8), Dresden (1928–9), and Munster (1929–32), then 2nd cond. Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo 1935–7, cond. orig. Ballet Russe 1938–41, and Ballet Th. 1941–5. Settled in USA 1940. Salzburg Fest. début (concert) 1946 (Mozarteum Orch.), (opera) 1959 (première of H. Erbse's Julietta). Prin. cond. Dallas SO 1945–9, Minneapolis SO 1949–60, BBCSO 1962–6, Stockholm PO 1966–70, National Sym. of Washington DC 1970–6, RPO 1975–8, Detroit SO 1977–81. Comp. sym., vc. conc., cantata, ballet, and str. qt. Arr. ballet mus. Cond. recording with Philharmonia Hungarica of complete Haydn syms. and several Haydn operas. Hon. KBE 1983.

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