Róbert Farkas, chief conductor

Hungarian/German conductor Róbert Farkas, Chief Conductor of the MÁV Symphony Orchestra in Budapest since September 2021, Artistic Director for MUZIKA, at Theater Hagen, Germany, captured the attention of the classical music world when he won the third prize of the International Lovro von Matačić competition, as well as the Opera Award and the Special Award of the Croatian Composer's Society (HDS) in 2011. Since then, he conducted on a regular basis and developed strong artistic ties to such orchestras as the Hungarian National Philharmonic, the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Danubia Orchestra in Budapest. Most recently another meaningful and regular co-operation connects him to the Banatul State Philharmonic orchestra in Timisoara (Romania) where he became principal guest conductor for the season of 2022/23.

Internationally he conducted the NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic, the Zagreb Philharmonic, the Croation Radiotelevision Symphony Orchestra, the National Philharmonic Orchestra in Sofia, the Orquesta Clásica Santa Cecilia in Madrid, also in Germany the Berliner Konzerthausorchester, the Berliner Symphonikert and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. In 2022 he will conduct his Austrian Debut in Salzburg with theh Hungarian National Philharmonic

Apart from several classical operas like Cosi fan tutte, La Traviata or Die Entführung aus dem Serail, he also conducted modern and contemporary works like Shostakovich's Moskau Tscherjomuschki, Hindemith's Lehrstück, Rihm's Nietzsche opera Dionysos, Peter Maxwell Davies' The Turn of the Tide, Echnaton by Philip Glass and Johannes Harneit's Abends am Fluss and Hochwasser.

Because of his creative and imaginative musical mind, internationally renowned conductors like Iván Fischer, Dmitri Kitajenko and Péter Eötvös, accompany his career as mentors. Many years ago, Maestro Kocsis saw personally that he conducts his Debut with the Hungarian National Philharmonic. Robert Farkas also attended Masterclasses with Bernard Haitink, Gianluigi Gelmetti and Jorma Panula.

Farkas was born in Òzd, Hungary and grew up surrounded by various musical influences and traditions. He then studied Choral Conducting and Music Pedagogy as well Conducting with both Tamás Gál and András Ligeti. In 2006, he was awarded an Erasmus scholarship, which brought him to The University of the Arts in Berlin, where he continued his studies in Conducting with Professor Lutz Köhler until receiving his degree in 2012.

During the year 2013 his collaboration with conductor Iván Fischer started. For several years he worked with him closely at Konzerthausorchester in Berlin and the Budapest Festival Orchestra in Hungary, on tour and at their home series.

Kobayashi Ken-Ichiro, Honorary Guest Conductor

Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi won the International Conductors’ Competition of the Hungarian Television (MTV) in the spring of 1974, more than 40 years ago. The MÁV Symphony Orchestra was the first orchestra that he directed outside his home country, thereby starting his international career. The Maestro has been on a roll ever since, but he still has a special connection to our orchestra. He is our returning guest, whose presence brighten every concert for our audience and is an inspiration for the members of our orchestra. He directed dozens of MÁV Symphony Orchestra concerts in our different series, on numerous occasions in Japan, thereby enhancing the reputation of our country and the founder of our orchestra
On the spring of 2014, Kobayashi celebrated the 40th anniversary of winning the MTV Conductors’ Competition with a large-scale concert series. He gave seven concerts in three weeks in Hungary, with the participation of the most famous Hungarian philharmonics. He directed our orchestra on the gala concert of the series, where the president and chief executive officer of MÁV Zrt., Ilona Dávid awarded Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi the prestigious ‘Vasútért’ prize.
The MÁV Symphony Orchestra deeply values the Master’s friendship. As a token of mutual appreciation, since the 2014-15 season, we welcome him to the podium as honorary guest conductor.

Péter CsabaPermanent Guest Conductor

He was born in 1952 in Cluj-Napoca. He started playing the violin at age five, and studied the violin, composing and conducting at the Porumbescu Conservatory of Music in Bucharest. He was successful at numerous international competitions (e.g. Paganini Competition, Genova), and regularly performed in concerts as a violinist. Several years later, he debuted as a conductor as well. Péter Csaba is a musician who travels the world; he entered the stage in more than 80 countries.
Since 1983, he lives in Lyon, France. He is the founder and conductor of the Solistes de Lyon and the Finnish Virtuosi di Kuhmo chamber orchestras, and was the artistic director of the Lapland Festival (Sweden) and the Musica Vitae. His initiative to support young musical talents started in Sweden and was further developed in Spain, in the framework of the Ecuentro de Música Y Academia Festival in Santander. By means of this endeavor, he had the opportunity to introduce himself to a great number of brilliant young musicians (including Hungarians). In recognition of his outstanding work in Sweden, he was elected to become a member of the Royal Swedish Academy. He is a professor and head of the orchestra class at the National Conservatory of Music and Dance of Lyon. Between 1994 and 2010, he was the director and permanent conductor of the Besançon Symphony Orchestra. He teaches masterclasses in several countries. He has numerous records; the one with the works of the composer Sibelius, recorded in 1994 in Finland, was chosen best classical record of the year in the US. In the past few years, he conducted the MÁV Symphony Orchestra on numerous records. He worked together with a number of contemporary composers, for example with Krzysztof Penderecki, Alfred Schnittke, Henry Dutilleux, Sofija Gubajdulina and György Kurtág, many of whom dedicated their compositions to him. He entered the podium with artists like Pierre Fournier, Natalia Gutman, Dimitrij Bashkirov, Truls Moerk, Teresa Berganza, Oleg Kagan, Christian Zimmermann, Tabea Zimmermann, James Galway, Menahem Pressler, Zoltán Kocsis, Miklós Perényi, Dezső Ránki, Jenő Jandó, Péter Frankl, Dénes Várjon, Albert Simon, Kristóf Baráti, László Fenyő and István Várdai.
Since 2012, Péter Csaba has been the artistic director and chief conductor of the MÁV Symphony Orchestra.
In 2017, he received the Legion of Honour (Knight class) from the President of the French Republic for his contribution to the French culture and music, and was awarded the Order of the White Rose of Finland for his outstanding musical and artistic activity in Finland.

Kesselyák Gergely, Conductor

He was born in Budapest in 1971. He graduated from Piarist Secondary Schoolof Budapest in 1989 and obtained his degree in conducting at Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music as a student of Ervin Lukács in 1995. During his years as an undergraduate he took part in Yuri Simonovs Master classes twice. He won third price at the Arturo Toscanini International Conducting Competition in Parma (1994) and at the Hungarian Television International Conductors Competition in Budapest (1995).
1993-tól rendszeresen vezényli Magyarország vezető szimfonikus zenekarait: a Nemzeti Filharmonikus Zenekart, a Budapesti Filharmóniai Társaság Zenekarát, a Magyar Rádió Szimfonikus Zenekarát és a MÁV Szimfonikus Zenekart. 1995 és 1997 között a Magyar Rádió Ifjúsági Zenekarának vezetője, 1997-től a Miskolci Nemzeti Színház operatagozatának alapítója és zeneigazgatója. 2001-től a „Bartók +” Nemzetközi Operafesztivál alapító zeneigazgatója, 1994-től a Magyar Állami Operaház vendégkarmestere, 2001-től karmestere. 2004-től a Budafest Nyári Nemzetközi Opera és Balett Fesztivál művészeti igazgatója, 2005-től 2012-ig a Szegedi Szabadtéri Játékok művészeti igazgatója.
Since 2011 he has been Director of the Bartók+ Opera Festival. In 2013 he founded the Bartók+ Opera Composition Competition. Since 2016 he has been principal conductor of the Hungarian State Opera. He has worked as a guest conductor in several countries
(Ukraine, Romania, Austria, Italy, France, Spain, Egypt, Japan, Chile, Peru, Oman, China). Since 1999 he has been active as a stage director, as well, and has staged Verdi's Rigoletto, Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle, Puccini's Turandot; Tosca and Verdi's Nabucco. The production of Don Giovanni directed by him ran for 8 years at the Hungarian State Opera House. In 2005 he was awarded the Liszt Prize. In 2012 he became a Meritorious Artist.

Gergely Kesselyák has been the conductor of the MÁV Symphony Orchestra since September 2010.

Gábor Takács-Nagy Permanent Guest Conductor

He was born in 1956, and became world-famous by the string quartet associated with his name. The quartet received a scholarship to Colorado in the United State, and its members settled there. Gábor Takács-Nagy left the quartet in 1992 and moved back to Europe. Since then, he has been living in Switzerland and is a professor at the Haute école de musique Genève – Neuchâtel (Geneva HEM). Besides, he is teaching chamber music masterclasses around the world. He also returned to Hungary: Between 1992 and 2001, he regularly played in the Budapest Festival Orchestra as a guest concertmaster. From 1999, he played in his newly established string quartet, Mikrokosmos, with which they recorded all of Bartók’s string quartets for the Bartók series of the Hungaroton Record Production company.
He has been conducting since 2002, debuting in Switzerland at the Sion Festival. He became the Music Director of the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra (Switzerland) in 2007. From 2011, he has been the chief conductor of the Manchester Camerata. In the MÁV Symphony Orchestra, he has been directing the workshops of the string musicians and the new chamber orchestra series of the ensemble since 2005. He became the first guest conductor of our orchestra in September 2008, and between September 2010 and June 2012, he was the chief conductor and music director of the MÁV Symphony Orchestra. Between 2014 and 2016, he was a guest conductor at the Budapest Festival Orchestra.
He has been the permanent guest conductor of the MÁV Symphony Orchestra since 2018.