He began his career as a pianist and music teacher. In 1840 he wrote his first opera, ”Bátori Mária”, and the textbook was written by Béni Egressy, who was a collaborator on an opera writing until his death. In 1844 he won the competition to compose Kölcsey’s Anthem.
His opera Bánk Bán, which also marked the peak of his career, was premiered in 1861.
He contributed to the founding of the Music Academy (1875), after which he was the principal and pianist for 10 years. In 1884 he became the chief music director of the Opera House.
As a conductor and organizer, he has done a great deal to flourish the musical life of the capital. He was a renowned chess player and one of the founders of the Pest Chess Circle, founded in 1864.