Istvan Bogar was born in Budapest in 1937 and graduated from the Ferenc Liszt Academy as a composer in 1963, after earlier instrumental studies. In 1968 he became deputy editor-in-chief of Editio Musica Budapest and in 1972 he was appointed to the position of dramaturge for the National Philharmonic. Since 1976 he has been musical secretary to the Hungarian State Orchestra, under János Ferencsik, and since 1983 director of the music ensembles of the Hungarian Radio.
In addition to his varied work in musical administration, Istvan Bogar won a reputation as a composer and as a conductor, often of his own compositions. He has appeared with the Budapest Symphony Orchestra and the Budapest Strauss Orchestra, touring Switzerland and France with successful programmes devoted to the work of Johann Strauss. This resulted in invitations from Italy, Belgium and England for further tours.