Music Director and Maestro Emeritus - About Istvan Jaray


Istvan Jaray, past Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Livingston Symphony Orchestra, is an internationally acclaimed conductor. He has regularly appeared in concert halls in Europe, Canada and the United States in the last twenty five years.

Born in Hungary, Maestro Jaray has guest conducted major orchestras in his homeland including the Concert Orchestra of Budapest, the Savaria Symphony and the Debrecen Philharmonic. He also conducted the Radio and Television Orchestra of Zagreb, Croatia. Because of the overwhelming success, he was invited back to conduct the Zagreb Philharmonic. Ohter guest conducting appearances include performances with the Symphonies of Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago, Baton Rouge, Binghamton, Brussels Radio Symphony, Orchestra State Symphony, in Adana, Turkey, Pittsburgh Opera Theater, Wisconsin Ballet and the Milwaukee Ballet. In 2003, he made a second guest conducting appearance with the Debrecen Philharmonic. In the summer of 2006, he guest conducted the Slovak State Philharmonic at the Zemplen Festival in Hungray and Slovakia. In July 2007 and August 2008, he guest conducted the Woodstock Mozart Festival in Woodstock, Illinois to great acclaim. He will conduct a Liszt Bi-Centennial Concert upon his return to Woodstock in August 2011.

At the age of five, Jaray began to study the violin, later graduating from the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, where he also studied piano, composition, and conducting under the direction of Zoltan Kodaly and Gyorgy Ligeti. After leaving Hungary in 1956, Jaray enrolled at London's Royal College of Music, where he studied conducting with Sir Adrian Boult. Following four years a member of the British National Opera Orchestra, he free-lanced with the London Symphony, London Philharmonic and BBC Orchestra. This gave him the opportunity to work with Maestri Monteux, C. Davis, Guilini, and Dorati. It was at this time that Jaray formed his own Chamber Opera Company, the Opera Comique.

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

Jaray is was also the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra in Johnstown, PA. He also conducts the JS Youth Orchestra. He was the recipient of the 2005 Greater Johnstown Chamber of Commerce "Cultural Affairs Award". In 2005, he was inducted into the Bottleworks Ethnic Arts Center (Johnstown) "Artists Hall of Fame."

Maestro Jaray lives in Johnstown and is married to Renee Shaw. He is an avid tennis player and gourmet cook.