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Ferenc Fricsay (1914 - 1963)

The son of a military band conductor of great experience, and like him able to play a wide range of orchestral instruments, Ferenc Fricsay was a student for six years at the Budapest Academy of Music, where he studied violin and piano with Bartók and composition with Kodály. His first appointment came in 1933 as military bandmaster in the Hungarian town of Szeged, the economic and cultural capital of the south-eastern region of Hungary, adjacent to the Yugoslav and Romanian borders. In 1934 he became chief conductor of the Szeged Philharmonic Orchestra and went on to establish an opera department in the local theatre in 1939, making his debut as a conductor at the Budapest Opera in 1939. Fricsay stayed in Szeged until 1944 when he and his family went into hiding from the occupying German forces in Budapest, but following the defeat of National Socialism he conducted the first symphony concert in liberated Budapest in 1945, and in the same year was appointed chief conductor of the Budapest Opera and conductor of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, of which Otto Klemperer was then a guest conductor. He made his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during 1946.



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