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

saxophone, saxophone - soprano

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 - composer
Year Title Publisher Code Remark
1978 Tomsits Jazz Group: Álom és valóság
(Tomsits Jazz Group: Dream and reality)
Pepita SLPX 17549 LP
1979 Figyelem Felvétel - Éjszaka a stúdióban
(Figyelem Felvétel - Session at Night)
Pepita SLPX 17566
1981 Dimenzió Hungaroton SLPX 17651 LP
1982 Supergroup Hungaroton SLPX17708, VBP010 CD: Bouvard & Pécuchet VBP010 (1993)
1982 Rudolf Tomsits Studioband Amiga 8 55 936
1985 Binder Károly: In Illo Tempore Krém SLPX 17828 LP
1985 Márta István: Szíveink
Hungaroton SLPX 12563
1987 Avec plaisir
(Avec plaisir)
Hungaroton SLPX 37071 LP / Reissue on CD: Bouvard & Pécuchet VBP 012 (1993)
1987 Bratislava Jazz Days 1984 Opus 9115 1652-53 2 LPs
1989 Trió Stendhal Hungaroton SLPX 37245 Own
1991 Earthsound Sentemo SNT 30191
1991 Binder Károly: Erózió Binder Music Manufactory BMM 9704
1992 Trio Stendhal: Something Happened Sentemo SNT 30192 Own
1992 Zörr Hungaroton HCD 37669
1992 Horváth Kornél: Rag Handed Bouvard & Pécuchet BVP 002
1993 Avec plaisir Bouvard & Pécuchet VBP 012 Reissue of Hungaroton SLPX 37071 (1987)
1994 Trio Stendhal: Live! Bouvard & Pécuchet VBP 014 Own
1994 Running Time - The best of László Dés Hungaroton HCD 37332 Own
1995 ESP Group: Waiting Bouvard & Pécuchet VBP 033
1998 Márta István: Sound in Sound out - Kapolcs Riadó
(István Márta: Kapolcs Alarm)
Hungaroton HCD 31829
1998 Lendvay Kamilló: 5 Concerto
(Five Concertos)
Hungaroton HCD 31787
1999 Syrius: Széttört álmok Hungaroton HCD 17491
1999 Márta István művei
Hungaroton HCD 31580
1999 Dés László: Akasztottak
(Dés, László: The Hanged)
BMC Records BMC CD 021 Own
2001 Évek Óta Már 2 BMC Records BMC CD 70
2002 Eötvös Péter: Elektrokrónika
(Eötvös, Péter: Electrochronicle)
BMC Records BMC CD 072
2003 Balázs Elemér Group with Charlie Mariano: Our worlds beyond BMC Records BMC CD 086
2003 Dés-Snétberger: Double Invention TOM-TOM Records TTCD 50 Own
2003 Metszetek
TOM-TOM Records TTCD 49 Own
Károly Makk: A Long Weekend in Pest and Buda - film music
2004 Balázs Elemér Group: Refracting sounds BMC Records BMC CD 106
2004 Legacies 5 - Amadinda and Friends. Live recordings 1989-1999 Hungaroton HCD 32294
2005 Hungarian Jazz Store BMC HMIC BMC PCD 016 Not for sale - only for promotion / 4 CDs
2005 Contemporary Gregorian Sony - BMG 82876759822 Own
Artisjus Award - "Production of the Year" (2006)
2005 Utcazene
(Street music)
TOM-TOM Records TTDVD 75 Own
2005 Utcazene
(Street Music)
TOM-TOM Records TTCD 68 Own
2005 Örömkoncert 2005
(Concert of Joy 2005)
Magánkiadás DVD - Not for sale
2005 Contemporary Gregorian Sony - BMG 82876759822
2007 Blues egy trombitásért Magánkiadás AE521268
2007 Contemporary Gregorian Sony - BMG 88697086499 Own
DVD / Concert at Millenáris Teátrum
2008 Dés László: A fal mögött Hungaroton HCD 17771 Own
2009 Figyelem Felvétel - Éjszaka a Stúdióban
(Figyelem Felvétel - Session at night)
Alexandra Records PDKCD0049