The Kennedy Center

Antal Doráti


Born in Budapest, Antal Doráti was the first NSO music director to come to the Orchestra with a well-established conducting career.  Prior to his NSO appointment, he had served as music director for the Dallas and Minneapolis Symphony Orchestras, and was formerly  principal conductor of the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo.  In addition to having significant experience as music director and conductor, he studied philosophy at the University of Vienna and composition at the Academy of Music in Budapest.  Doráti's discography was large and constantly growing, and he was, moreover, considered to be an excellent orchestra-builder.  His ability to nurture and develop an ensemble artistically was just what the National Symphony Orchestra needed.   

Doráti successfully increased the artistic quality of the NSO and substantially expanded its repertoire by adding staple works by Haydn, Mozart, Bruckner, and Mahler, as well as compositions by less well-known composers, to the orchestra's programs.  A composer himself, audiences and musicians alike were thrilled by his adventurous programming.  He was also especially active in commissioning new works, most notably a series by American composers, created to honor the nation's bicentennial in 1976. 

Under Doráti's leadership, it was not only the music that matured, but also the institution that came of age.  In 1971, the NSO moved from Constitution Hall to the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, and its performance season expanded first to 50 weeks and then to year-round employment.  Doráti was especially gifted with the ability to interest and involve orchestra musicians, and he succeeded in establishing a climate of increased respect for the orchestra, and developing their own drive for excellence in only seven seasons.
Antal Doráti


  • Piano Concerto
  • Divertimento for Oboe and Orchestra