A native of Hungary, jazz pianist Kálmán Oláh has gained international renown as an artist who masterfully combines elements of jazz, folk and contemporary classical music. The recipient of numerous awards, including the Grand Prize at the 2006 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composers Competition, he has appeared with scores of well-known artists including Lee Konitz, Jack DeJohnette, Ron McClure, Randy Brecker, Steve Grossman, John Patitucci, Tommy Campbell, Joe Lovano, Andrej Ceccarelli, Paolo Fresu, Kenny Wheeler, Mark Murphy, Shelia Jordan, Palle Danielsson and Ravi Coltrane to name a few.

 

Born in Budapest in 1970. Kálmán went on to graduate from the Béla Bartók Conservatory, completing his musical studies at Franz Liszt Academy of Music, on whose jazz faculty he currently sits. During his student years, his unique, ecumenical approach gained him widespread recognition, winning numerous awards at competitions both in Hungary and abroad including the Great American Jazz Piano Competition in Jacksonville, Florida. Kálmán founded Trio Midnight, an innovative jazz group that helped him earn recognition beyond Hungary as he became a regular at festivals in Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Germany and elsewhere. Kálmán’s versatility as a performer is demonstrated by his passion to expand the musical boundaries and his ever-lasting quest for new forms of self-expression. He writes original music and arrangements for Hungarian and international projects, including big band and symphonic works as well as for his own formations like Kálmán Oláh Sextet and Kálmán Oláh Trio since 1995.

 

In 2006 he received the Franz Liszt Award from the Hungarian government and was awarded the Grand Prize of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composer’s Competition. His winning

composition, “Always,” is the centerpiece of his first U.S. release recorded with Jack DeJohnette and Ron McClure.  It its review of “Always,” Jazz Times describes Kálmán as a “fully developed, finished pianist with a seductive touch and a continuous lyricism on material that never follows a linear process but rather flows and swirls. You can get lost – euphorically lost – in the reveries of Oláh’s music.” (Jazz Times, October 2007).

 

Kálmán’s latest appearance as composer and soloist is a record called “Images” (In memoriam Béla Bartók) written for the Budapest Jazz Orchestra (Hungaroton, 2008). It has been praised as “the best big band recording, so far, of this century,” and a “brilliant homage to, and reworking memoriam of, Béla Bartók’s music into a quasi-jazz/classical highbred that is true to both genres and crossovers between them as well” (Thomas R. Erdmann, Jazz Review).

 

Kálmán’s versatility as a performer is demonstrated by his passion to expand musical boundaries and his everlasting quest for new forms of self-expression. His latest symphonic opus titled “Passacaglia for Orchestra & Jazz Trio” was presented at the Hungarian State Opera House in December 2008 by Kálmán’s trio and the Orchestra of the Opera House. Since then this composition has been performed with great success.

 

His latest symphonic and jazz compositions were performed at Müpa (Palace of Arts), one of the most important concert halls in Europe on the 12th of February 2016 at Kalman Olah’s composer’s evening, where Joshua Redman was the guest soloist.

 

Several pieces from Kálmán Oláh are selected in to the European Real Book.

 

For more information, discography, video, downloads of complete songs and scores of Kálmán’s original compositions please visit www.kalmanolah.com.