Hungarian-born conductor, violinist and composer Frederic Balazs died Saturday, June 2, at Sierra del Sol Memory Care in Tucson, Arizona. He was 98 years old.

Frederic Balazs was born in Budapest, Hungary, on Dec. 12, 1919. He studied violin as a child under Bela Bartok, Ernst Von Dohnanyi and Zoltan Kodaly.  At 17 he became concertmaster of the Budapest Symphony. He acquired his intense affinity with the technique and spirit of the orchestra by working under conductors as Bruno Walter, Toscanini, Eugene Ormandy, and Wilhelm Furtwängler. He emigrated in 1939.

After several years leading the Wichita Falls Symphony in Texas, he became Music Director of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra for 15 years. After this tenure he reduced his activities to guest-conducting.

In the words of the pianist, Claudio Arrau, Balazs was « a brilliant conductor of rare gifts with musicianship, intelligence, and inspirational capacity of great depth. »

He also was a composer and a sought-after pedagogue. He lived for many years in San Luis Obispo, California, where he founded Music and the Arts for Youth (MAY), to assist and award young talent.

  • Pizzicato

  • Archives