There is no figure on the Hungarian jazz scene that doesn't owe some kind of debt to János Gonda, who recently passed away. Without him, who knows how long it would have taken for Hungarian jazz education to reach such a high level, and whether we would have seen people committed to the genre create a federation that supports the cause of jazz in every imaginable way. On this evening, Gonda's contemporaries, the later presidents of the Hungarian Jazz Federation and the leaders of jazz studies (now the jazz department) at the Liszt Academy who have followed in his footsteps will pay tribute to his work and spirit by performing his own compositions and some treasured classics.
In his musical education, János Gonda learnt under Bence Szabolcsi and Dénes Bartha, and also took part in piano and teacher training from Péter Solymos and Zoltán Horusitzky. In 1961, he began work at the Hungaroton record label, then a year later founded the group Qualiton. With the eight-volume Modern Jazz anthology, his goal was to promote and gain acceptance of the genre in Hungary. In 1976 came the avant-garde stylings of the album Sámánének (Shaman Song) with Tamás Berki, Péter Kántor, En...dre Sipos, Károly Friedrich, Gábor Balázs, Gyula Kovács, László and István Dely. 1980 saw his solo piano album Vonzások és választások (Attractions and Elections), before five years later came Keyboard Music, recorded with Richard Kruza and Frigyes Pleszkán. The 1999 Képek - Emlékek (Pictures - Memories) contains solo and joint duo pieces with Balázs Berkes. In his occasional concerts, he also enjoyed playing in these groups and in trios alongside Imre Kőszegi. However, as a composer for films, pantomime and ballet, he also worked with full-scale orchestras. His pedagogical work included the organisation of the International Institute of Creative Music Education in Tatabánya and the Hungarian Jazz Camp. He was awarded the Széchenyi Prize and the Ferenc Erkel Prize.
Presented by: Müpa Budapest
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