Istvan Jaray

Artist Bio


ISTVAN JARAY, conductor - Born in Hungary, Istvan Jaray has guest conducted major orchestras in his homeland including the Concert Orchestra of Budapest, the Savaria Symphony and the Debrecen Philharmonic.  He has also been a guest conductor with the Radio and television Orchestra of Zagreb, and the Zagreb Philharmonic in Croatia.  Other appearances have been with the Symphonies of Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago, Baton Rouge, Binghampton, the Brussels Radio Symphony, the Orchestra Sinfonica Di Sanremo in Italy, Pittsburgh Opera Theatre, Wisconsin Ballet and the Milwaukee Ballet as well as the Cukorova State Symphony in Adana, Turkey and  the Slovak State Philharmonic at the Zemplen Festival in Hungary and Slovakia. 


Maestro Jaray began his study of the violin at the age of five and later the piano.  While continuing with these instruments at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, he also pursued composition and conducting under the direction of Zoltan Kodaly and Gyorgi Ligeti.  After leaving Hungary in 1956, he enrolled in London’s Royal College of Music where he was a student of Sir Adrian Boult.  Following four years as a member of the British National Opera Orchestra, he was a freelance violinist with the London Symphony, London Philharmonic and the BBC Orchcestra.  Through these experiences he worked with Pierre Monteux, Collin Davis, Antal Dorati, and Carlo Maria Giulini.  It was at the time that maestro Jaray formed his own chamber opera company, The Opera Comique.


After joining the Vancouver (Canada) Symphony, Mr. Jaray met Otto Werner Mueller who became his mentor and colleague.  Together they accepted positions on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  Concurrently Maestro Jaray became Music Director of the Waukesha and Fox Valley (Wisconsin) Symphonies. Ten years later he accepted a faculty position at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There he led the Carnegie-Mellon Philharmonic which he took to Carnegie Hall for its New York debut.


Maestro Jaray continues to appear regularly in concert halls in Europe, Canada and the United States. He resides in Johnstown, Pennsylvania where he has been Music Director of the Johnstown Symphony, an orchestra he has developed into a successful metropolitan orchestra over the last twenty five years.  In addition, he is also the music director of the Livingston Symphony Orchestra in Livingston, New Jersey.  His return to the Festival in 2014 marks his fourth visit.



“Magnificent… conducted with fire and feeling…”  -LONDON DAILY NEWS