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About Szabolcs Oláh

The character of Szabolcs Oláh's music is determined by his special relationship with the melodies, that are flowing naturally and instinctively, while it still sounds profoundly constructed. Although, he has well defined jazz roots, his style often ignores the boundaries and here comes another interesting aspect of his music. Szabolcs Oláh merges the different musical styles with confident sense of proportion into his music.

He switched from violin to guitar at the age of fifteen, and it turned out early that he can clearly express himself through composing. He studied from 2001 until 2005 at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, under the direction of Gyula Babos and Sándor Horányi. He founded his first internationally acclaimed quartet in 2002, with which he won awards in Hungary and Italy (Barga Jazz International Jazz Competition, 1st prize) as well, toured in the Czech Republic and performed at the Technopolis Jazz Festival, in Athens. In 2022, he graduated as a Master of Music (MMus) in the field of jazz arranging at the Amsterdam University of the Arts.

His interest in the big band arrangements brought him to be a founding member of the Modern Art Orchestra in 2005, which has a huge influence in his work since then.  The music of Szabolcs Oláh has the same concentrated calmness as the Modern Art Orchestra’s, whether it is about stacking genres, or using composition techniques that are not usual in jazz.

He became a member of Kornél Fekete-Kovács's quintet, played with Nikoletta Szőke, and in the trio of András Dés as well as with the Konzervnyitó Akciócsoport which played interactive musical performances. His own quintet was founded in 2012 with János Ávéd (saxophone), Gábor Cseke (piano), Márton Soós (bass) and András Dés (percussion). The line-up released three albums, Connection (2013), Gleam (2015), and the Dream Path with vocalist Panni Kalmár (2016). He made a guitar-piano album (Message from The Sun, 2017) with Gábor Cseke, but also appeared as composer on two Modern Art Orchestra album (Eclectic Path, 2009; Winding Road, 2018). The music of Szabolcs Oláh sounds on these records with mellow serenity, and with perfect balance between the things of the soul.

In 2019, Ádám Bögöthy (bass) and László Csízi (drums) pumped fresh blood into his quintet. Their first record, the Crystal Brook has been released in September 2019 and was selected the ‘Album of the year’ by the readers of the prominent online journal, The ten new songs, each composed by Szabolcs Oláh, continue the journey, maybe in a little bit more ethereal way than before, but with the same focused serenity as we get used to it in Szabolcs Oláh’s music.

„A guitarist to love and to keep on loving” (Alexander Schmitz – Jazz Podium, 2017)

„This music leaves me feeling calm, satisfied and uplifted.” (Mike Gates – UK Vibe 2019)

"The Silent Call (...) strikes me as a very polished performance of a well composed suite. (...) Immaculate professionalism and warmth are the hallmarks of this recording." (Howard Mandel - President of Jazz Journalists Association, 2022)

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2014: Jazz bigband composer and arranger competition, Budapest - Best composition

2008: Artisjus Music Foundation Award for outstanding work in presenting and introducing Hungarian music

2007: Barga Jazz International Jazz Competition, Italy: 1st prize with Oláh Szabolcs Quartet

2006: Ablakos Lakatos Dezsö Jazz Performer Scholarship

2004: Jazz bigband composer and arranger competition, Budapest - 1st prize for arranging

2004: Belvárosi Lipót-Napok Jazz-combo competition, Budapest – 1st prize with Oláh Szabolcs Quartet

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(Click on the titles to listen.)

Original works:

2022: Oláh Szabolcs Quartet feat. Accord Quartet: The Silent Call - composer, arranger, guitar

2019: Oláh Szabolcs Quintet: Crystal Brook - composer, guitar

2018: Modern Art Orchestra Plays the Music of Szabolcs Oláh: Winding Road (Tom-Tom) - composer, arranger, guitar

2017: Oláh Szabolcs & Cseke Gábor: Message From the Sun - composer, guitar

2016: Oláh Szabolcs Quintet & Kalmár Panni: Álomösvény - composer, lyrics, guitar

2015: Oláh Szabolcs Quintet: Gleam - composer, guitar

2013: Oláh Szabolcs Quintet: Connection - composer, guitar

2006: Oláh Szabolcs Quartet: Inner Spring – composer, guitar (contact us for CDs)

As a sideman:

2009: Modern Art Orchestra: Eclectic Path (BMC) – composer, arranger, guitar

2008: András Dés Trio: Unquiet Stillness (X-Produkció) – guitar, composer

2008: Nikoletta Szöke Trio: Golden Earrings (Gramy) – guitar

2008: Moór Bernadett: Elkésni szépen kell (CLS) – guitar

2008: Piccolo Inn: The First Spider In A New House (Szendöfi Balázs) – guitar

2006: Modern Art Orchestra : Karácsonyi Napló (SmartMusic) – guitar

2005: Budapest Jazz Orchestra: Zsoldos Béla: Üstdobverseny – guitar

2003: Fritz Jazz Band: Still And Sparkling – guitar (contact us for CDs)

Featuring as a guest guitarist:

2008: Kozma Orsi: Hide & Seek (Mton)

2004: Kecskemét Jazz Orchestra: Blue Chip

Fearuring as a guest composer:

2020: Hajdu Klára Quartet: Journey

2013: Balázs Elemér Group feat. Nikoletta Szőke: The New Beginning

2012: Nikoletta Szőke: Inner Blaze (Atelier Sawano)

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