Kertesz, Istvan

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KERTESZ, ISTVAN (1929–1973), conductor. Born in Budapest, Kertesz studied the violin at the Liszt Academy, whose student orchestra he later conducted, and in Rome. After becoming a conductor at Györ (1953–55), he was appointed junior conductor at the Budapest Opera, but left Hungary during the 1956 uprising. From 1958 he was music director at the Augsburg Opera and from 1964 until his death, at the Cologne Opera. From 1965 to 1968 he was principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, with which he made many recordings. A leading conductor of the younger generation, he was admired for his conducting of the works of Schubert, Dvorák, Bruckner, Bartok, and – his greatest love – Mozart. Kertesz made frequent guest appearances at leading opera houses and with important orchestras, notably the Vienna Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic with which he was engaged at the time of his death. He died by drowning, while swimming off the coast of Herzliyyah.

[Max Loppert (2nd ed.)]