Excellent clarinet artist, teacher of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music Budapest.
He started his music studies 1946 in the music school of Tatabánya. First he learned to play the piano, and later he changed to clarinet. In 1951 he was accepted to the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, where he became student of György Balassa. From 1956 to 1981 he was solo clarinet player of the Hungarian State Opera House and the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra.
Between 1962 and 1972 he was member of the Hungarian Wind Quintet, and from 1967 he's been member of the Budapest Chamber Ensemble. As soloist and chamber musician he presented works by numerous contemporary Hungarian composers. His performance inspired many composers to creation of clarinet works.
His activity as teacher is equally significant. In 1975 he was requested to accept the position of clarinet teacher at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. In 1989 he won the application for clarinet professor at the Universität für Musik in Graz, then the title Professor Emeritus. As guest professor he was invited to the Conservatorio di Musica (Udine) in 2004. In September 2008 he received the title Professor Emeritus from the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. For beginners he released the Everyday scale exercises for clarinet (1979), the I learn to play the clarinet I. (1983) and the I learn to play the clarinet II. (1983) workbooks.
Throughout his career, Béla Kovács was awarded many times. He received the (joint) Liszt Prize (1964, 1967), the title Merited Artist (1972), the title Excellent Artist (1978), the Kossuth Prize (1988), the Bartók-Pásztory Award (2002), and the Leó Weiner Memorial Prize (2016).
He died in the 7th of November, 2021.