Zsolt Nagy began his musical career as a coach and conductor at the City Theatre of Békécsaba (1976/79) in Hungary. At the age of 23 he took up conducting studies with István Párkai at the Academy of Music in Budapest (diploma in 1984).
He was twice awarded a Soros Foundation Scholarship for studies in Milan and Paris (1988, 1989). He participated in the seminars given by Péter Eötvös during the Bartók Festivals (1985-89) and subsequently worked as Eötvös's assistant in the Institute of New Music at the Karlsruhe Academy of Music (1990-95). In 1995-97 he served as Music Director of the Institute of Music Theatre. He was a guest lecturer at the International Eötvös Institute in Stuttgart (1995), Cologne (1997), Edenkoben (1998, 2006, 2009) and Budapest (2015).
Since 1999 he has held the post of Chief Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the Israel Contemporary Players. Between 2002 and 2014 he was appointed professor of conducting at the Paris Conservatory. He was Artistic Director of the masterclasses for conductors organized by the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra in Ostrava and of the Masterclass for Young Conductors for New Music (held at the Music Centre in Jerusalem).
Zsolt Nagy has worked with many leading orchestras, choirs and ensembles like the Basler Kammerorchester, BBC Symphony Orchestra London, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven Academie Antwerp, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Bielefelder Philharmoniker, Deutsches Sinfonieorchester, Berliner Sinfonieorchester, Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Geidai Philharmonic Orchestra Tokyo, Georgian State Philharmonic Orchestra, Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, Hungarian Symphony Orchestra Miskolc, Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra Ostrava, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Musikkolegium Winterthur, Nederlands Ballet Orkest, New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Cámara De Chile, Orquesta Filarmónica De Buenos Aires - Teatro Colón, Orquesta Sinfónica Provincial De Rosario, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale Della Rai Torino, Orchestra Sinfonica Rai Milano, Orchestra Dell’accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia Rome, Orchestre Des Lauréats Du Conservatoire Paris, Orchestre Des Rencontres Musicales De Lausanne, Orquesta Sinfónica De Chile, Orquesta Sinfonica De Concepcion, Radio Filharmonish Orkest Hilversum, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Of Antwerp, Irish National Symphony Orchestra, SDR Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, Sinfonia Varsovia, Slovak National Philharmonic Orchestra, Slovak Radio Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden, Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, WDR Sinfonieorchester Cologne, BBC Singers London, Collegium Vocale Gent, Brno Philharmonic Choir, Coro Dell'accademia Nazionale Dl Santa Cecilia Rome, Coro Sinfónico Universidad De Chile, Latvian Radio Choir Riga, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, New London Chamber Choir, Opera West Norway, SDR Rundfunkchor Stuttgart, Slovak National Philharmonic Choir, Warsow Philharmonic Choir, Synergie Vocals, Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, BIT20 Ensemble Bergen, Champ D'action Antwerp, Centre International De Percussion Geneva, Collegium Novum Zürich, Ensamble Universidad Católica Santiago De Chile, Ensemble Contrechamps Geneva, Ensemble Insomnio Utrecht, Ensemble Intercontemporain Parism, Ensemble Intermodulation Budapest, Ensemble L'ltineraire Paris, Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain Lyon, Ensemble Plural Madrid, Ensemble Recherche Freiburg, Ensemble United Berlin, Ictus Brussels, Israel Contemporary Players Tel Aviv, Klangforum Wien, London Sinfonietta, Melos-Ethos Ensemble Bratislava, Musikfabrik NRW Cologne, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne Montreal, Paul Klee Ensemble Bern, UMZE Budapest.
In his professional activity teaching plays an important role as well. He involves himself in teaching conducting (numerous Master classes in Europe, Near-East, Asia, South- and North- America), chamber music and orchestra projects with academy orchestras like: Arc-en -ciel Ensemble Of The "Zürcher Hochschule Der Künste", Ensemble Boswil Switzerland, Orquesta De Conservatorio Superior De Música De Salamanca, Orchester Der Hochschule Für Musik Carl Maria Von Weber Dresden, Orchester Der Hochschule Für Musik Karlsruhe Germany, Orchester Der Hochschule Für Musik Köln, Orchester Der Hochschule Für Musik Stuttgart, Orchester Der Hochschule Für Musik Trossingen, Orchester Der Zürcher Hochschule Der Künste, Orchestra Of The Geidai University Tokyo, Orchestra Of The Janacek State Academy Brno, Orchestra Of The Trinity College Of Music London, Orchestre Du Conservatoire De La Chaud-De-Fonds Switzerland, Orchestre Du Conservatoire National Supérieur De Musique De Paris, Orchestre Du Conservatoire Genève, Orchestre Du Conservatoire Neuchâtel Switzerland, Sinfonietta De La Escuela Superior De Música Reina Sofia Madrid.
Zsolt Nagy has over 800 first performances to his credit, as well as numerous television, radio recordings and CDs.
He received a special award for the promotion of new Israeli music and the "Victor Tevah Award" as the best conductor of the "2007 International Season" of the Symphony Orchestra of Chile.