Támás Vásáry was born in Debrecen and gave his first public performances at the age of eight. He studied with Ernő Dohnányi and Lajos Hernádi at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest, and was later assistant there to Zoltán Kodály. Vásáry won the Franz Liszt Competition in Budapest in 1948. Having left Hungary in 1956, he made his débuts in the major cities of the West in 1960 and 1961. He has subsequently lived in London. He has also been Music Director of the Northern Sinfonia and Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, and has guest conducted many of the principal British orchestras as well as appearing regularly in the United States and elsewhere as pianist and conductor. He has worked as conductor with over 100 orchestras, In 2006 he founded the Zoltán Kodály World Youth Orchestra. He has been the Music Director and the principal conductor of the Hungarian Radio Symphonic Orchestra since 1993 to 2004, and since 2004 has served as lifetime honorary chief musical director. Prizes and distinctions: Bach and Paderewsky medals; Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music in London; Chevalier des arts et lettres (Order of Knights of Art and Literature) in France; in Hungary the Middle Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit, the Kossuth Prize, the Millennial Kölcsey Prize, Gold Medal of the President of the Republic of Hungary (twice), and the Hungarian Heritage Prize.