Budapest-born Zoltán Peskó comes from a family of Lutheran church musicians. After completing his studies in his native city, he began his career as conductor and composer of film and stage music at the Hungarian National Theater and the Hungarian Television. He left Hungary in 1964 and attended master classes in Italy and Switzerland. Between 1966 and 1973 he was employed by the Deutsche Oper Berlin and taught at Berlin's Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst as well.
His highly noted debut at Milan's La Scala in 1970 marked the beginning of an impressive international career. Many guest conductorships have taken him throughout Europe, to South America, the former Soviet Union and the United States. He was appointed principal conductor of the Teatro Comunale in Bologna in 1973 and of the Teatro La Fenice in Venice three years later. From 1978 to 1983 he led the orchestra of the RAI, the Italian radio, in Milan. He became a freelance conductor afterwaards. Since August 1996 he has been the General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein.
Zoltán Peskó is regularly invited to conduct at the major European music festivals and is a sought-after guest at all of Europe's leading musical centers. His work as concert and opera conductor comprises the entire spectrum of the repertoire, from the Renaissance to the avantgarde. The conductor's uncommon versatility is documented in his many recordings for disc and radio. He was awarded the German Record Prize in August 1993.