B. Mus (Budapest), M. Litt (Oxon), Hon. D. Mus (Sussex)


Laszlo Heltay was born in Budapest and studied there at the Franz Liszt Academy. He moved to England in 1957 and continued his studies at Metton College, Oxford where he later became Director of Music. In 1964 he went to New Zealand to take up the posts of associate conductor of the New Zealand Opera Company, where he gave many first performances of contemporary works including the first New Zealand performance of Britten’s "Albert Herring". On his return to London he was appointed conductor of the Phoenix Opera Company, and gave the first performance in France of Britten’s "The Turn of the Screw" and the first performance in New York of Respighi’s "Lucrezia". He also worked as assistant to Klemperer.

Laszlo Heltay was Music Director of the Chorus of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields which he founded in 1975, until May 1999. He also founded the Brighton Festival Chorus in 1968. He was Music Director of the Royal Choral Society from 1985 until 1994. In 1997 he was appointed Director of the Spanish Radio and Television Choir and as guest conductor with the orchestra he has recently conducted performances of Britten’s "War Requiem" and Bach’s "St Matthew Passion".

He has made recordings for CBS, Argo, Decca and Nimbus and was Chorus Director for the film "Amadeus" with the Academy St Martin in the Fields.

He has conducted most majors orchestras in the United Kingdom as well as many others in Europe and the United States and has worked with radio orchestras and choirs including those of Brussels, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Stockholm. He conducts regularly at major European and International Festivals.

His conducting masterclasses in Britain, Spain and Hungary attract students from all over the world.

In 1982 he was awarded the International Kodaly Medal. In 1995 the degree of Honorary Doctor of Music was conferred upon him by Sussex University. In 1997 he became an Honorary Fellow of Merton College, Oxford.

"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."

Laszlo Heltay is a British citizen, but after 38 years living in England, he now lives

in Spain, near his favourite city, Barcelona.