He was born in 1968 in Budapest.
He started playing the piano at the age of six and then studied composition at the Béla Bartók Conservatory. He graduated from the Liszt Ferenc University of Music in Budapest in the class of Emil Petrovics and was taught by Ervin Lukács and Tamás Gál.
In 1987, he entered the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music as a composer student of Professor Emil Petrovics. He won an award at the Zoltán Kodály Composition Competition.
Between 1991-1992 he continued his training as the assistant conductor to the Academy's own symphony orchestra.
He graduated with first-class honours in music theory, with similar honours in 1994 as a composer and 1995 as a conductor.
He won 2nd place in the same year and won the audience award at the 8th International Conducting Competition of Hungarian Television.
He won second prize at the conducting competition in Cadaques, Spain, and in 1997 he won first place at the Portuguese International Radio Conducting Competition.
Later, he was appointed the first permanent conductor of the National Philharmonic Orchestra in Hungary in 1997.
Between 2000 and 2009, Zsolt Hamar was the leading conductor and artistic director of the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra in Pécs. From 2002 to 2007, he was the first permanent conductor of the Orchestra Verdi in Padua e del Veneto, touring in several European countries in addition to Italy.
Zsolt Hamar is also a regular guest at international opera houses such as the Frankfurt Opera House, the Gothenburg Opera House, the Teatro San Carlo Lisbon and the Teatro Lyrico Cagliari.
Since 2009 he has been a full-time visiting professor in the field of conducting, where he habilitated in April 2011 as a private lecturer.
He made his debut at the Zurich Opera in 2007. As a result of his extraordinary success, he signed a permanent conducting contract for several years, during which he premiered several premieres and world premieres.
In 2012 he was appointed to the general music director at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden.
Since 2016, he has been a professor at the International Bartok Seminar and Festival, where he is actively involved in promoting the talent of young conductors.
In 2017, he became the music director of the Hungarian National Philharmonic.
From September 2022, he was the chief conductor of the Moravian Philharmonic (Czech Republic).
He has been working on his own project, the Collegium Symphonicum Hungaricum, since 2020, a postgraduate mentoring program for young conductors looking to expand their knowledge.
"Die Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen ist immer wieder ein Garant für klanglich ausgefeilte Wiedergaben und unter der Leitung von Gastdirigent Zsolt Hamar einmal mehr. Trocken prägnante Impulse erhielt die 2. Sinfonie D-Dur, großen Schwung und prometheisches Feuer, kämpferische Kraft: ein Beethoven, wie er sein soll. Das gleiche gilt für die Eröffnung mit "Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus"."