Peter Eötvös was born in Transsylvania in 1944 and received diplomas from Budapest Academy of Music (composition) and Hochschule für Musik in Cologne (conducting). In 1978, at the invitation of Pierre Boulez, he conducted the inaugural concert of IRCAM in Paris, and was subsequently named musical director of the Ensemble intercontemporain, until 1991.
Proms debut in 1980. From 1985-1988 he was Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. First Guest Conductor at the Budapest Festival Orchestra from 1992 to 1995. First Guest Conductor at National Philharmonic Orchestra (Budapest) from 1998 to 2001. Chief Conductor of the Radio Chamber Orchestra of Hilversum from 1994 to 2005. First Guest conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2005, and Principal Guest Conductor, Modern and Contemporary Repertoire at Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2007. From 2009 to 2012 First Guest Conductor at Radio Symphony Orchestra in Vienna. Other Orchestras he has worked with include the most important Radio Orchestras in Europe. He has also worked in opera houses including La Scala Milan and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. From 1992 to 1998 he was professor at the Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe, and from 1998 to 2001 at Cologne’s Hochschule für Musik. He returned to his post at the Musikhochschule Karlsruhe between 2002 and 2007. In 1991, he founded the International Eötvös Institute and Foundation, in 2004 the Eötvös Contemporary Music Foundation in Budapest for young conductors and composers. His many compositions (e.g. “Atlantis”, “zeroPoints”, “Shadows”, “Levitation”, “CAP-KO”, “SEVEN”, “DoReMi”) and operas (“Three sisters”, “Le Balcon”, “Angels in America”, “Love and Other Demons”) are regularly performed throughout the world.
Amongst his many awards and prizes, he was most recently awarded the Goethe Medal in 2018.
As of July 2019