Celebrated Hungarian pianist, conductor and composer Zoltán Kocsis has died at the age of 64 after a long illness, spokeswoman for the National Philharmonic Julia Bukta told MTI on Sunday.
Kocsis was catapulted into the limelight after winning the Hungarian Radio Beethoven Competition in 1970. He won the Liszt Prize in 1973 and the Kossuth Prize in 1978 and again in 2005. He won Hungary’s Corvin Chain award in 2012.
With conductor Iván Fischer, Kocsis co-founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra in 1983, he later became musical director of the Hungarian National Philharmonic.
“Zoltán Kocsis was a musical giant, one of the rare geniuses. His impact on his whole generation is unfathomable,” Kossuth-prize winning Ivan Fischer said on his Facebook page on Sunday. “I was deeply shocked and saddened to hear the news of his death. On behalf of the Budapest Festival Orchestra and myself I bid farewell to my colleague, co-founder, partner in many-many musical collaborations and unforgettable musician icon. May he rest in peace.”
The National Philharmonic said in a statement that they were “deeply saddened to report that Zoltán Kocsis died this afternoon after a long illness which he bore with great dignity. The vacuum he has left after his death is immeasurable,” the orchestra’s management said in a statement. He had recently cancelled concerts both abroad and at home.