Artist database

This is the Artist Database of BMC, which includes information about composers, musicians, orchestras, choirs and groups that are either Hungarian or Hungarian by origin or live in Hungary, as well as information about releases recorded with them.

Dés László


Place of Birth
Date of Birth

9 January 1954 Budapest

Outstanding jazz musician, saxophone player and composer, a significant figure of the modern jazz, also composer of numerous successful musicals and soundtracks.

He started to play the piano at the age of nine. From 1971 to 1973 he visited the clarinet department of the Béla Bartók Secondary School for Music, then until 1976 he studied at the saxophone sub-department of the Jazz Department of the Liszt Ferenc Music Academy.

In 1979 he founded his first band (Dimension/Dimenzió) with János Másik, Tamás Tóth and István Baló. They recorded three albums in eight years and gave concerts in Hungary and abroad. They also toured in Finland. He was member of the Budapest Big Band in 1985-86.

One year later he founded the band Trio Stendhal with Ferenc Snétberger and Kornél Horváth. They played chamber music in a unique line-up and had extraordinary success all over the world. The band toured in Austria, Italy, Spain and other countries of Europe, but even in India.

From 1993 he primarily gave solo concerts and performed the works of several contemporary composers with chamber orchestra. Between 1998 and 2000 he worked with the Jazz+Az, he composed the songs of the band’s two albums. In 2003 he founded a new jazz band with Kornél Fekete Kovács (trumpet), Gábor Juhász (guitar), József Balázs (piano), Péter Glaser (bass), András Dés (percussions) and Elemér Balázs (drums). Their album „Metszetek” („Engravings”) was released in 2003, while the „Utcazene” (Street music) in 2005.

His latest production is Contemporary Gregorian, which made a recording at the end of the year 2005. The members of the group are: László Dés (saxophone), József Balázs (piano), Elemér Balázs (drums), Mátyás Szandai (bass), and the Voces4 Ensemble conducted by Zoltán Mizsei. Their repertoire is a collection of vocal works from the European music history, and gives insight into unison Gregorian chants, polyphonic organs from the middle age and even into renaissance motets from the 16th century. Beside Gregorian themes the jazz quartet performs works by Perotinus, Stoltzer, Festa, Gibbons and Lassus. As carriers of this tradition they reflect on the works through free improvisations, preserving some parts (rhythm, tonality, harmonic structure, etc.) of the original composition.

As performer and composer he works continuously. His major instrument is soprano saxophone – his sensitive, „subjective voice” and improvisational melodies make his performance incomparable to others. During his career he’s been invited to a number of prestigious festivals, performed at the Pori Jazz Festival, in Novi Sad, Bratislava, New Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore, Innsbruck, Kajaani, Paris and Berlin. He regularly composes soundtracks (Another Look, Love Till Last Blood, Out of order, Samba, Pirates, Glass Tiger, We never die, A long weekend in Pest and Buda) and musicals for theatre performances (Somewhere in Europe, The Jungle Book, We never die) but contemporary music (Hanged), too.

1978-82 Dimenzió I. (János Másik - piano, Tamás Tóth - bass, István Baló - drums)
1982 Supergroup
1984-87 Dimenzió II. (Róbert Szacsky - piano, Tamás Tóth - bass, Gábor Szende - drums)
1985-86 Budapest Big Band
1987-93 Trio Stendhal (L. Dés, K. Horváth - percussion, Ferenc Snétberger - classical guitar)
1998-2000 Jazz+Az

Jazz festivals:
Dimenzió I.: 1980 Novi Sad, 1981 Wroclaw, 1982 Pori Jazz
Dimenzió II.: 1986 Umeo (Sweden), 1987 Bratislava
Trio Stendhal: 1988 Jazz Yatra - New-Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore (India), Ybs - Innsbruck (Austria)
1989 Kajaani (Finland), Pori Jazz
1991 Paris
1992 Berlin

Concerts and tours abroad:
Dimenzió: 1980; 1982 Finland
Trio Stendhal: Austria, Italy, Spain

Without a trace (1981)
Another look (1982)
Love Till First Blood (1986)
Love Till Second Blood (1987)
A whole day (1987)
Season of monsters (1987)
Here comes freedom (1990)
Three sisters (1992)
We never die (1993)
Anna’s film (1993)
Pharmacy (TV-series, 1994)
Samba (1995)
Out of order (1997)
Pirates (1999)
We live only once (2000)
Johnny Famous (2000)
Jazz+Az: Concert+Story (2000)
Glass Tiger (2001)
May Day Mayhem! (2001)
Jazz+Az: Concert+Story (DVD - 2003)
Károly Makk: A long weekend in Pest and Buda (2003)

Incidental music to documentaries:
Barren (1995)
The matter of the heart (1997)
More than love (1998)
On the way (2002)

Incidental music to theatre pieces:
Jarry: King Übü, Fellini: City of Women, Erdmann: Self-murderer, Puskin: Borisz Godunov, Mrozek: Shambles - Gergely Csiky Theatre (Kaposvár)
Gorkij: Summerfolk, Győző Határ.: King of rats - Zsigmond Móricz Theatre (Nyíregyháza)
Three girls in blue, Goldoni: New apartment - József Katona Színház (Kecskemét)
Wesker: Kitchen - Szeged
O'Neill: A Long Day’s Journey into Night - Miskolc
Gombrowicz: Yvonne, princess of Burgundy – National Theatre of Helsinki, Burgtheater - Vienna

Maria Vargas Llosa: Pantaleone and the female guests – Comedy Theatre of Budapest
Géza Radványi: Somewhere in Europe - musical – Municipal Operetta Theatre; Vörösmarty Theatre (Székesfehérvár)
Kipling: Jungle Book - musical – Theatre of Pest /Premiere/, Csokonai Theatre (Debrecen), József Katona Theatre (Kecskemét), Géza Gárdonyi Theatre (Eger), Hevesi Theatre (Zalaegerszeg), Vörösmarty Theatre (Székesfehérvár), National Theatre of Szeged, Petőfi Theatre (Veszprém)

Festival prizes:
1976, 1985 San Sebastian Jazz Festival – Best Soloist Award
1981 Wroclaw – Critics’ Choice Award
1986 Dunqerque – Best Soloist Award
1986 Karlovy Vary – Best Soloist Award

Other prizes, awards:
1988 EMeRTon Prize (Hungarian Radio)
1991 Ferenc Liszt Prize
1994 Critics’ Choice Movie Award
1994 MAHASZ Golden Giraffe Award (We never die, Anna’s film – Soundtrack of the Year)
1994 Artisjus Jenő Huszka Award (Composer of the Year)
1995 Artisjus Jenő Huszka Award (Song of the Year)
1996 Critics’ Choice Theatre Award (Musical of the Year)
1996 Officer’s Cross of Merit of the Hungarian Republic
1999 MAHASZ Golden Giraffe Award – Soundtrack album of the Year (Jazz+Az: Pirates)
2000 MAHASZ Golden Giraffe Award – Hungarian pop album of the Year, Recording of the Year (Jazz+Az: Good for one)
2001 MAHASZ Golden Giraffe Award – Video clip of the Year (Dés László: Do you want me?)
2002 Soundtrack of the Year (Dés-Bereményi: Undressing - Valami Amerika)
2002 Pro Urbe Budapest
2003 Merited Artist
2003 Hungarian Jazz Award – Jazz Musician of the Year
2007 Kossuth Prize

see also: Dés László - musician
Title Type Year
The Jungle Book Stage work 1999
Three Sisters Film music 1991
Dreams of the Lonely Stroller Film music 1993
Out of Order Film music 1997
A Streetcar Named Desire Ballet / Choreographic work 2017
Hanged Film music 1997
Anna´s Film Film music 1995
Mutter / Mother 0
May Day Mayhem! Film music 2001
A Long Weekend in Pest and Buda Film music 2003
One Full Day Film music 1988
We Live Once Film music 2000
Freedom is Here! Film music 1990
Jesus Christ´s Horoscope Film music 1989
Pirates Film music 1999
Johnny Famous Film music 1999
Awarded Film music 2001
Remaining Injuries Film music 2011
Fruitless Film music 1995
Mario il mago / Mario the Magician Film music 2007
Pharmacy Film music 1995
Puskás Hungary Film music 2009
Our Cells Film music 2002
We Never Die! Stage work 2006
We Never Die! Film music 1993
Szamba Film music 1995
Love for the First Hearing Film music 1999
Love Until the Second Blood Film music 1987
Witness of our Century - Ottó Habsurg Film music 1990
The Matter of the Heart Film music 1996
Helpless Film music 1998
Space Section Film music 1979
Somewhere in Europe Stage work 1999
A Kind of America Film music 2002
No End to Dreaming Film music 1988
Glass Tiger Film music 2001