An outstanding figure of the young generation of Hungarian conductors, Balázs Kocsár was born in Budapest in 1963. He studied piano, percussion, composition and choral conducting. In 1991 he graduated from the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest with a diploma in orchestra conducting. He has studied with professors Ervin Lukács and András Ligeti. He participated in several master classes, lead by professors Helmuth Rilling, Moshe Atzmon, Hiroyuki Iwaki, Péter Eötvös and Jorma Panula.
His professional career both in Hungary and abroad started while he was still a student. In 1989 he won third prize and several special prizes in the 6th International Conductors’ Competition of the Hungarian Television. From September of 1990 to 1993 he has been the opera conductor of the National Theatre of Szeged and first conductor of the Szeged Symphony Orchestra. Between 1991 and 1994 he has been the assistant conductor of the Hungarian State Philharmonic Orchestra.
He received a scholarship to the Vienna Academy of Music for the 1991-92 academic years, where he studied with Professor Karl Österreicher. Since 1992 he conducts regulary in the Hungarian State Opera. From 1993 to 1999 he has been the musical director of the Csokonai Theatre in Debrecen. In 1995 he received the first prize of the Franco Ferrara Conducting Competition organized by the Opera of Roma.
He has already conducted all of the top Hungarian symphony orchestras in performances, as well as other orchestras in Germany and in the United States. Since 1997 he conducts at several operas and symphony orchestras in Italy (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Arena di Verona, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Teatro Verdi Triest, Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana, Orchestra Verdi di Milano), Belgium (Antwerpen, Vlaamse Oper, De Filharmonie), Germany and Switzerland.
From 1998 he is the permanent conductor of the Szombathely Symphony Orcehstra. From 1999 to 2002 he was ‘Erste Kapellmeister’ at the Opera of Frankfurt-am-Main. Since 2005 he works in Debrecen as the artistic director of the Debrecen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kodály Choir and the musical director of Csokonai Theatre.
Since 2012, he has been a member of Hungarian Academy of Arts, and is the Acting Principal Director of the Hungarian State Opera since February, 2016. He has been awarded with Merited Artist Prize in 2017.