His extensive repertoire ranges from Renaissance music to recently composed works, he has conducted many first performances of contemporary pieces. He is a devoted interpreter of Hungarian contemporary music, and the works of Bartók, Kodály and Ligeti.
He is a committed pedagogue and leads workshops and conducting courses all around the world.
As conductor of the Hungarian Radio Choir, he has conducted numerous concerts in Hungary and abroad, with several contemporary a cappella pieces premiered on their programme. Most pieces were also recorded for the Hungarian Radio.
He conducted at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg - as choir master he appeared at the Salzburg Festival (Salzburger Festspiele), at the Donizetti Festival of Bergamo, and at concert venues such as the BOZAR in Brussels, the MÜPA in Budapest, the Auditorium de la Radio France and the Auditorium Rainer III. at Monte Carlo.
In recent years, he has worked with outstanding conductors and ensembles including Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker, Daniel Harding, Péter Eötvös and the Vienna Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Alan Gilbert, Helmuth Rilling, Christoph Gedschold, Kazuki Yamada, Pier Giorgio Morandi, Zoltán Kocsis, György Vashegyi, Gergely Kesselyák, Iván Fischer, Ádám Fischer and Carlos Miguel Prieto.
He is a welcomed guest conductor of orchestras, primarily conducting oratorical works. He worked with the Hungarian Radio Orchestra, Kodály Philharmonic Orchestra, Győr Philharmonic Orchestra, Oradea Philharmonic Orchestra and Alba Regia Symphony Orchestra.
Between 2009 and 2014, he worked as chief conductor of the Kodály Choir Debrecen, which is one of the few professional choirs in Hungary. During this time, Zoltán conducted over 130 concerts with the choir and prepared a further 131 more concert programmes.
Among many other pieces, he conducted Concerto for Choir by Alfred Schnittke and The Sealed Angel (Zapechatlennyi angel) by Rodion Shchedrin and the oratorio The Company of Heaven by Benjamin Britten as its first Hungarian performance.
In December 2012, under the direction of Zoltán Pad, the Kodály Choir was awarded the Prima Award of Hungary.
In the autumn of 2012, he was the choir master of the joint chorus of the Kodály Choir Debrecen and the Choir of the Hungarian State Opera in Verdi’s Aida performed in Doha, which was the first operatic performance in the history of Qatar.
He has conducted concerts with the Purcell Choir, the Cantemus Choir and the National Choir (of Hungary).
He also has considerable experience as a university lecturer. 2005-2021 he worked as assistant lecturer, then subsequently senior lecturer of the Liszt Academy of Music. In 2011, he completed his doctoral studies with first class honours, with his DLA thesis entitled The “passion” of Dietrich Buxtehude.
In 2008, he led the choirs of the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing.
Zoltán Pad is regularly invited to conducting master courses (Limerick, Ireland; Marktoberdorf, Germany) and he regularly works with youth choirs. He is a returning jury member at international choir and conductor competitions.
Between 2009 and 2014, he was a member of the Artistic Board of the Béla Bartók International Choir Competition, and held the position of artistic director of the contest in 2013/14.
In March 2018, he was awarded the Liszt Prize and in 2022 Lajtha-prize in honour of his work.