Martin Rajna is one of the most outstanding young conductors in Hungary. Despite still only being in his mid-twenties, he is in demand with Hungary’s leading symphony orchestras. In the 2020/21 season, he will once again take up the invitation of the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dohnányi Orchestra Budafok, but he will also direct the orchestra of the Hungarian State Opera, the Danubia Orchestra Óbuda, the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra Miskolc, the Zugló Philharmonic, the Szolnok Symphonic, and the Danube Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he will join several productions by the Hungarian State Opera – including their 2021 premier of Wagner’s Parsifal, in the capacity of coach and assistant composer, while he will conduct the performances of Erkel’s Bánk bán at the National Theatre in Győr.
The previous season was particularly noteworthy for Rajna. In autumn 2019, he directed his first ever concerts in Germany when he appeared with the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester in Frankfurt (Oder) and Potsdam, an invitation which he will accept once again in 2022. That October he conducted the Raanana Symphonette chamber orchestra in the Jerusalem Theatre at the closing concert of Israel’s Hungarian Culture Year. November saw him back in his homeland for two debuts – first at the Grand Hall of the Academy of Music, where he directed the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, and then at Müpa Budapest, with the Dohnányi Orchestra Budafok. In February 2020, he conducted his first opera, Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail, in Győr.
Between 2017 and 2019, Rajna worked as assistant conductor with the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra, where at the age of 23 he directed his first concert as part of the season’s subscription series, presenting Bartók’s Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s 4th Symphony with Barnabás Kelemen as soloist. In recognition of his talents, he received Hungary’s Junior Prima Award 2018, becoming the youngest ever conductor to be thus honoured. As part of the prize, in January 2019 he was invited by Tamás Vásáry to direct a performance of Beethoven’s cantata Der Glorreiche Augenblick by the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir.
Born in 1995, Rajna studied piano and composition at the Bartók Conservatory until 2015 and then gained admission to the Department of Conducting at the Liszt Academy, from which he graduated with a master’s degree in autumn 2020. In 2017, he received a National Higher Education Scholarship. He has participated in several conducting courses, including those tutored by Péter Eötvös, György Vashegyi, and Zsolt Hamar.
Photo by Richard Kovacs