Portland Festival Symphony

Gregory Vajda, Music Director

Lajos BaloghHailed as a “young titan” by the Montreal Gazette after conducting the Montreal Symphony in Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Schoenberg’s Erwartun, Gregory Vajda has fast become one of the most sought-after conductors on the international scene. In 2011, he was appointed the sixth music director of the Huntsville Symphony.  After a three-year tenure as Principal Conductor, he was named Principal Guest Conductor of the Hungarian Radio symphony in 2014.  Mr. Vajda is also the Artistic Director of the International Armel Opera Festival.  Former Resident Conductor with the Oregon Symphony, Vajda maintains a busy schedule of guest conducting engagements around the world.  Mr. Vajda is also a gifted clarinetist and composer and was honored with the Zoltán Kodály State Scholarship for composers (2000).  Born in Budapest, Mr. Vajda studied conducting at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, in Budapest.


Lajos Balogh, Founder, Music Director Emeritus

Lajos BaloghLajos Balogh is the Founder of Portland Festival Symphony and was Music Director and Conductor for 36 years. He was born in Hungary and studied at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, as well as in Munich and Hamburg. In Germany he appeared as a soloist with the Munich, Nuremberg and Gottingen Symphonies.

Lajos has been an active member in Oregon's classical orchestra community. He spent many years as Principal Second Violin with the Oregon Symphony and is a former member of both the Portland Opera Orchestra and the North Coast Chamber Orchestra. He was the founding Music Director and longtime Principal Conductor of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony and a past conductor of the Marylhurst Symphony Orchestra. Balogh has served on the faculties of Marylhurst College, Portland State University and Lewis and Clark College.

From Immigrant to Local Hero