Conductor and composer. Initially studied piano, violin, cello and composition in Budapest. He moved later to Vienna to study conducting with Hans Swarowsky at the University of Music and Performing Arts. In 1976, he won the Rupert Foundation conducting competition in London, and conducted such British orchestras as the BBC Symphony and the London Symphony Orchestra. In 1983, he founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra. In the USA, he held the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, of the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, was the principal conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra. He was the Music Director at Kent Opera in the UK, and the Music Director of the Opéra National de Lyon. In 2011, he was named Music Director of the Konzerthaus Berlin and Principal Conductor of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin. He is also known as a passionate chess player.