The conductor Zsolt Hamar is an Artist of Merit, winner of the Liszt Award and the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary. He headed the Hungarian National Philharmonic as Musical Director from March 2017 to August 2020.
Hamar pursued his advanced studies at Budapest’s Franz Liszt Academy of Music, graduating with honours in 1995 after studying music composition under Emil Petrovics and conducting under Ervin Lukács and Tamás Gál. He launched his career by taking second place and the audience prize at the Hungarian Television International Conducting Competition. He has also won prizes at several other international competitions (taking second place at the Cadaqués Orchestra International Conducting Competition in Spain and first place at both the Portuguese Radio Conducting Competition and the Antonio Pedrotti International Conducting Competition in Trento, Italy). In 1997, he was invited by Zoltán Kocsis to serve as first permanent conductor of the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra. After working as Lorin Maazel’s assistant at the Salzburg Festival in 1998, he spent the years from 2000 to 2009 as the music director of the Pannon Philharmonic while simultaneously serving as first guest conductor of the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto.
A regular guest with orchestras and at concert halls around Europe, Japan and the USA, he has also appeared with nearly every symphonic ensemble in Hungary. Hamar has regularly conducted at the Hungarian State Opera since 2001 and is a welcome guest at opera houses in other countries as well. Between 2005 and 2011, he worked as a permanent conductor at the world-famous Opernhaus Zürich. He has recorded works by Liszt together with the Hungarian National Philharmonic and Mahler’s First Symphony with the Pannon Philharmonic. From 2012 to 2016, he served as the chief music director of Wiesbaden’s opera house.
He headed the Hungarian National Philharmonic as Musical Director from March 2017 to August 2020.