After replacing Iván Fischer upon the maestro’s request in April 2019 with the prestigious Budapest Festival Orchestra, earning rave reviews and standing ovations in major cities and venues such as Budapest, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Paris and Luxembourg Philharmonies, Hungarian Gábor Káli positioned himself as one of the most promising young conductors.
In 2021/22, his intense opera experience leads him to the prestigious Bayerische Staatsoper (Turandot, Giuditta), Theater und Philharmonie Essen (Bluebeard’s Castle), Semperoper Dresden (Magic Flute) and Nationaltheater Mannheim (Così fan tutte). Other upcoming highlights establish him as a powerful leader of symphonic formations, with invitations to major orchestras such as Wiener Symphoniker, MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, London Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Gulbenkian Orchestra and Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Recent performances include invitations to Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, RSO Wien at the Musikverein, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic orchestras, Scottish Chamber Orchestra on tour, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Kölner Kammerorchester, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Staatsorchester Stuttgart, Philharmonie Zuidnederland, Slovak Philharmonic and Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra.
In 2019/20 season, he is invited to conduct Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at Dresden’s Semperoper upon Christian Thielemann’s invitation. This follows Káli’s 2018 huge success at Deutsche Oper am Rhein, conducting Verdi’s Rigoletto. In summer 2019 he performs at Salzburg Festival with ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien. A live recording of the concert is released in Summer 2020 from the Salzburger Festspiele.
As a very versatile and capable musician, Gábor Káli is also highly committed to contemporary repertoire, regularly conducting new music and premiering various works across the globe. He is in particular greatly appreciated and sought-after for his deep knowledge of Bartók’s works which led him to conduct Budapest Festival Orchestra on tour.
Gábor Káli was awarded the prestigious Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award in 2018. In the same year he also won first prize at the inaugural Hong Kong International Conducting Competition.
In 2015, he took up the position of First Kapellmeister and Deputy Music Director of the Nürnberg Staatstheater, conducting Berg’s Wozzeck, Puccini’s La Bohème, Janáček’s From the House of the Dead, Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, Strauss’ Arabella and Verdi’s Otello.
Káli studied piano and conducting at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest. He joined the Dirigentenforum of the Deutsche Musikrat, where he attended masterclasses with Kurt Masur, Colin Metters and Sian Edwards. He also took part in courses with Péter Eötvös, Bernhard Haitink, David Zinman and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich.
“Gábor Káli has wonderfully conducted the Budapest Festival Orchestra. The level of the concert was breathtaking (…). He moved himself in Bartók’s tonal language as naturally as the musicians themselves (…) offering to the audience of the Elbphilharmonie a rarely experienced moment.”
(Hamburger Abenblatt, April 2019)
“Gábor Káli succeeded in illuminating Dvořák’s “Symphony from the New World”. The young man knows how to effectively pull all the orchestral registers.”
(Die Presse, April 2019)
“The Budapest Festival Orchestra is conducted by the very talented Gábor Káli, who is making his debut at Paris’ Philharmonie. Using a committed and clear gesture, he gives this extraordinary work a wonderful reading, carried by an incandescent phrasing (…). A memorable interpretation.”