Gregory Vajda
Huntsville Symphony, Hungarian Radio Symphony
Gregory Vajda
Gregory Vajda continues to be one of the most highly regarded conductors on the international scene. He was called a “young titan” by the Montreal Gazette after conducting the Montreal Symphony in Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Schoenberg’s Erwartung. He has been resident conductor of the Oregon Symphony for over seven seasons. He currently serves as the music director of the Huntsville (AL) Symphony, and is principal conductor of the Hungarian Radio Symphony (MR Symphony Orchestra), for both of which he conducts annually. He has been artistic director and conductor of Music in the Mountains (CA) and in 2014 was named Artistic Advisor to the Armel Opera Festival. In the 2017-18 season he conducts the Hungarian premiere of Georgia Bottoms: A Comic Opera of the Modern South at the Liszt Academy, a “Midnight Concert” series with the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra (Hungary), guest conducts the Rutgers (New Jersey) Symphony, and tours China with the Budapest Symphony.

Last season Maestro Vajda conducted a double-bill of Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Eötvös’ Senza Sangue with the Hamburg State Opera, as well as the Armel Opera Festival’s production of Die Zauberflöte at the Hackney Empire in London. He has made recent guest orchestra appearances with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, the Montreal Symphony at the Lanaudière Festival, the Pannon Philharmonic, the Hungarian Radio Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, and Miklos Perenyi and the Szeged Philharmonic. For the opera stage he recently conducted Don Carlo and Die Fledermaus at Budapest Opera.

Past orchestral highlights include taking the podium with the Baltimore Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Charlotte Symphony, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic, Louisville Orchestra, Memphis Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), Omaha Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Round Top Festival, San Antonio Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, Toledo Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and Winnipeg Symphony. He has also appeared as guest conductor at the Grant Park Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, and the Woodstock Mozart Festival.

As an opera conductor, Gregory Vajda made his debut at the Salzburg Festival leading the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera Chorus in Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle. His other recent opera successes include Romeo et Juliet, La Bohème, and La Cenerentola with Atlanta Opera; Un Ballo in Maschera with l’Opera de Montreal; Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre at the Palace of Arts of Budapest as part of the series entitled “Hommage à Ligeti”; and Wagner’s Lohengrin at the Budapest Wagner Days with the Hungarian National Opera Orchestra.

A champion of contemporary music, Gregory Vajda has conducted the Ensemble Intercontemporain and led the Klangforum Wien in performances of Péter Eötvös’ As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams and Three Sisters as part of the Wiener Festwochen. He has premiered György Ránki’s opera King Pomade’s New Clothes at the Hungarian State Opera, He was chosen to participate in the inauguration of Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (USA), conducting a performance of Grabstein für Stephan by György Kurtag.

In addition his presence on the podium, Maestro Vajda is also a gifted clarinetist and composer. In 2011 he gave the US premiere of his work Duevoe with the Oregon Symphony, which was previously recorded with the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, as well as his one-act opera Barbie Blue. The same year he premiered his work Czardas Obstine for piano and orchestra at the Round Top Festival. He has also given premiere performances of his chamber opera The Giant Baby at the New Theater in Budapest and his composition for the silent film The Crowd at the Auditorium of the Louvre (with pianist Jay Gottlieb).

Born in Budapest the son of renowned soprano Veronika Kincses, Gregory Vajda studied composition at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music under Professor Ervin Lukács. He was also a conducting pupil of world-renowned composer and conductor, Péter Eötvös. He received the Zoltán Kodály State Scholarship for composers, and the Annie Fischer State Scholarship for music performers.