Born in Budapest, he became the youngest ever conductor of the Royal Opera House in his native city, aged just eighteen. In 1945 he became Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra before becoming Music Director of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1949, a post he held for 11 years. After short spells as Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony, Stockholm Philharmonic, and Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, he was appointed Chief Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. As well as having a formidable recording career, he composed and orchestrated many works by other composers and was an accomplished author. In 1980 he was awarded an Hon. KBE in recognition of his services to music in Britain. One of the highlights of his career was a gala concert at the Festival Hall to celebrate his 80th birthday in the presence of HRH Princess Anne.