Laszlo Gati is a world-renowned musician and conductor. He served as the Windsor Symphony Orchestra’s (WSO) musical director between 1979 and 1985.
Gati took over for the WSO’s acting musicial director, Clifford Evens, in 1979 with the goal of raising the orchestra’s performance standard.
He oversaw the WSO’s first commercial recording in 1983, and conducted the 65-member ensemble at Detroit’s Orchestra Hall in 1982 and 1984. Gati is known for garnering community support for the WSO with his vibrant showmanship and consistent promotion. For example, he once “conducted” traffic on Ouellette Avenue to endorse his belief that orchestral music should be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of social status. Gati’s tenure as the WSO’s musical director ended abruptly in 1985 when he was forced to resign due to health issues.
Prior to his arrival in Windsor, Gati had an illustrious musical career in Canada and abroad. Gati was born on September 25, 1925 in Timisoara, Romania. He studied at the Academy of Music and the National Conservatory in Budapest, Hungary, and played violin in the Hungarian State Orchestra. In 1957, Gati immigrated to Canada to perform with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Montreal Philharmonia, and two years later founded the Montreal Chamber Orchestra. He directed the Victoria Symphony Orchestra between 1967 and 1978. The following year he conducted throughout South America just before taking his position with the WSO.
After his time in Windsor, Gati moved to Vancouver in 1989 where he continued to work in music and served as guest conductor with orchestras around the world well into his 80s. Gati passed away on July 20, 2014 at the age of 89.
“Former WSO conductor Laszlo Gati dies in Vancouver.” Windsor Star (July 28, 2014).
Hall, Frederick A., Kevin James, Lynn Mcguigan. “Windsor Symphony Orchestra.” The Canadian Encyclopedia (August 5, 2008).
“The History of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra.” Windsor Symphony Orchestra (n.d.).
Waterlow, D. Barry, “Laszlo Gati.” The Canadian Encyclopedia (June 14, 2007).