István Polónyi was born in Szolnok in 1965. He graduated from the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in 1989, where his teachers included Mária Vermes and Mária Zs. Szabó. Between 1986 and 1989 he played violin in the Budapest Strings Chamber Orchestra, while between 1989-92 he was a member of the Regie Cooperativa International Symphony Orchestra in Portugal. He has been teaching violin and viola since 1992, and since 2010 he has been the head of the violin department at the Szent István Király Conservatory of Music. Between 1997 and 2002 he was principal in the Hungarian Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, and he has held the same position in the Weiner-Szász Chamber Symphony since then. István Polónyi frequently appears in productions by the Budapest Festival Orchestra. He received the MOL Master-M Prize for his outstanding achievements in education in 2018.