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Eötvös, Peter

*Jan 2, 1944; † Mar 24, 2024

Composer, conductor and teacher: the Hungarian Peter Eötvös combined all three functions in one very high-profile career. He was born in Transsylvania, received diplomas from Budapest Academy of Music (composition) and Hochschule für Musik in Cologne (conducting). Between 1968 and 1976 he performed regularly with the Stockhausen Ensemble. From 1971 to 1979 he collaborated with the electronic music studio of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Cologne.

In 1978, at the invitation of Pierre Boulez, he conducted the inaugural concert of IRCAM in Paris, and was subsequently named musical director of the Ensemble intercontemporain, a post he held until 1991. Since his Proms debut in 1980 he has made regular appearances in London.

From 1985-1988 he was Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He was appointed First Guest Conductor at the Budapest Festival Orchestra from 1992-1995, First Guest Conductor at National Philharmonic Orchestra (Budapest) from 1998-2001. Chief Conductor of the Radio Chamber Orchestra of Hilversum from 1994 to 2005, First Guest conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra 2003-2005, and Göteborg Symphony Orchestra from 2003.

Other orchestras he has worked with include the most important Radio Orchestras in Europe, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonia, Los Angeles Philharmonic and New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also worked in opera houses including La Scala Milan, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and La Monnaie Brussels, Festival Opera Glyndebourne, Theatre du Chatelet Paris, with directors including Luca Ronconi, Robert Altman, Klaus-Michael Grüber, Robert Wilson, Klaus Lehnhof, Ushio Amagatsu.

In 1991 he founded the International Eötvös Institute and Foundation for young conductors and composers. From 1992-98 he was professor at the Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe, and from 1998-2001 at Cologne's Hochschule für Musik. He returned to his post at the Musikhochschule Karlsruhe from 2002. He was member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, Szechenyi Academy of Art in Budapest, Sächsische Akademie der Künste in Dresden, Royal Swedish Academy of Music. His many compositions (e.g. Atlantis, zeroPoints, Shadows, Jet Streams) and operas (Tri sestry, Le Balcon, Angels in America) are regularly performed throughout the world. In February 2008 his opera Lady Sarashina was premiered at the Opera de Lyon. His works have been recorded by BIS, BMC, DGG, ECM, KAIROS, col legno and his music is published by Editio Musica Budapest, Ricordi Berlin, Durand Salabert Eschig (Paris) and Schott Music (Mainz).

Awards, prizes
European prizes: "Pro Europa" prize in 2004 (Europäischer Preis für Komposition)

In Hungary: "Bartók-Pásztory prize" in 1997, "Kossuth Prize" in 2002, "Gundel arts award" in 2001, "Freeman of Budapest" in 2003, "Im memoriam Béla Bartók" prize and "Hungarian Arts Prize" in 2006

In France: "Officier de l’Ordre des l’Arts et des Lettres" in 1988, Prize SACD Palmarès in cathegory "Prix Musique" in 2002, "Commandeur l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres" in 2003, Cannes Classical Award for "Living Composer" in 2004, Grand Prix de la PMI – Prix Antoine Livio 2006 (Association Presse Musicale Internationale)

In Germany: "Frankfurter Musikpreis" in 2007, "Christoph und Stephan Kaske Preis" in 2000, "Kranichsteiner Musikpreis"  in 2007

In the UK: Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award in 2002.

Composition prizes
His opera Tri sestry was awarded France’s Prix Claude-Rostand, Grand Prix de la Critique (1998) and Victoires de la Musique Classique and du Jazz (1999) and its CD won Grand Prix of Academie Charles Cros (1999), Diapason d’or de l’année 2000, ECHO Preis 2000 in Germany and Prix Caecilia in Belgium (2000). In 2003 the film of his opera Le Balcon won the Grand Prix Golden Prague. His recording of Bartók's "Bluebeard’s Castle" was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2004.