The death has been announced of CML founder and patron Laszlo Heltay.
Laszlo was born in Budapest and studied conducting and composition at the Franz Liszt Academy under Kodaly and Bardos. He became a British citizen in 1957. In 1964 he went to New Zealand as associate conductor of the NZBC Symphony Orchestra and director of the NZ Opera Company. On his return to London, as well as founding Collegium Musicum of London Chamber Choir, he became conductor of the Phoenix Opera Company and also worked as assistant to Klemperer.
Throughout his distinguished career Laszlo Heltay conducted many major orchestras including the Philharmonia, the Dresden Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony and the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestras. He has also conducted many radio orchestras and choirs including those of Brussels, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Madrid, Budapest and Stockholm. In addition he founded the Academy Chorus of St Martin in the Fields, with whom he directed the choral music for the film Amadeus and a recording of Paco Pena’s Misa Flamenca. In 1982 he was awarded the International Kodaly Medal.
Laszlo lived in Barcelona for several years where he was closely involved with the Madrid Radio Choir as well as continuing a busy schedule of conducting and master classes for young choral conductors in Europe and the USA. More recently he retired and returned to live in Budapest, the city of his birth.
Records and Recording described Laszlo Heltay as “One of the finest and most inspiring choral trainers in the world….Through his efforts the whole British choral tradition has been given a new look and a new set of standards to aim for.”