photo - Zsolt BIRTALAN
Kornél Fekete-Kovács a Budapest based composer, arranger and trumpet player. He was born in 1970, and graduated at the Jazz Department of the Ferenc Liszt Music Academy. He is in great demand as a musician, and has worked on albums as a soloist or a session musician. As a composer and arranger he is very much present in the contemporary classical and jazz music scene not only in Hungary.
He is the founder of the Budapest Jazz Orchestra, where from 1998 to 2005 he was artistic director and soloist. Since 2005 he has been the leader of the Modern Art Orchestra, and in 2006 he established the Fekete-Kovács Quintet.
During his career he has played in renowned international projects and bands such as the IASJ Big Band (Copenhagen), the EBU Big Band (Amsterdam-Budapest), Brande International Music Workshop Orchestra (Denmark), the UMO Jazz Orchestra (Finland), East European Artsemble, Veni Academy Ensemble, ALTAR Project.
As a composer, in addition to many short compositions he wrote the Budapest Jazz Suite, which BMC Records released on CD performed by the Budapest Jazz Orchestra. The UMO Jazz Orchestra also performed it in Helsinki, conducted by the composer. His second full length piece written for big band was The Wayfarer, which premiered in 2002 by the EBU Jazz Orchestra. The work was recorded by the Budapest Jazz Orchestra with David Liebman as featured soloist. (Human circle - The Wayfarer, BMC CD 088). His next major work was the Timpani Concerto, written jointly with Béla Zsoldos, followed by the suite Dedications of 2005, and Christmas Log, which provided the material for the debut record by the Modern Art Orchestra in 2006. The Oak and the Bee premiered by Wallace Roney and the Modern Art Orchestra in 2006 at the MOL Budapest Jazz Festival. In 2018 he produced and co-composed an album based on Béle Bartók’s 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs. His brand new 90 minutes pieces Foundations (Yamas and Niyamas) based on a yoga philosophy released on CD in 2020.
After several years of writing for big band he made his first symphony orchestra album in 2010. Since then, he has been writing number of pieces for symphony and chamber orchestras. Just to name a few: Elements – Concerto for Cimbalom and Orchesrta, Double Concerto for Violin and Flugelhorn, Tiszta forrás – symphonic suite; SENSA NOME- Concerto for Jazz Quinetet and Orchestra.
As an arranger he has been working with numbers of composers and orchestras. Among others he has been committed as an arranger and orchestrator by Péter Eötvös, Markus Stockhausen, Sandesh Sandilia, WDR Funkhaus Orchestra, Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra, National Choire of Hungary, Müpa Pallace of Arts.
As a conductor he has been worked with big bands as well as major symphony orchestras such as the UMO Jazz Orchestra, Ljubljana Radio Big Band, Budapest Jazz Orchestra, Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra (Pécs, Hungary), Danubia Symphony Orchestra (Budapest, Hungary), Kodály Philharmony Orchestra (Debrecen, Hungary), Hungarian Studio Orchestra (Budapest, Hungary), Veni Ensemble (Kosice, Slovakia). He is the chief conductor of Hungary’s leading jazz ensemble, the Modern Art Orchestra since its beginning in 2005.
As an educator he has been teaching trumpet at the Jazz Department of Ferenc Liszt Music Academy in Budapest for sixteen years, beside he used to be a trumpet, arranging, composing and combo class teacher at the Budapest based contemporary music school Kőbányai Zenei Stúdió. As an important focus in his activities, he so much emphasizes educating young audience. Within this conception he wrote numbers of compositions for children, and giving educational concerts for children regularly. A selection of big band for children compositions released in CD named ZeneHajó – performed by the MAO and a Hungarian stand-up comedian András Hajós.
He has played numbers of recordings as well as concerts, festivals in Hungary and abroad in collaboration with Johnny Griffin, Benny Golson, Dave Liebman, Tom Harrell, Bob Mintzer, Peter Erskine, Gary Willis, Rick Margitza, Wallace Roney, Herbie Mann, Kurt Elling, Mike Garson, Bob Magnusson, Joe LaBarbera, Marilyn Mazur, Ray Anderson, Butch Lacy, Mario Gonzi, Rhoda Scott, Tony Lakatos, Lionel Lueke, Jonathan Blake, Gregory Hutchinson, Brian Charette, Daniele Camarda, Gerard Presencer, Dan Bárta, the New York Voices, Harlem Gospel Choir, Tony Grey.
1993 Jazz Juniors Competition, Krakow - best group, best solo
2000 and 2002 Artisjus Musical Foundation's award
2002 eMeRTon prize as the Best Composer of the Year Composer (prize of the National Hungarian Radio)
2009 Ferenc Liszt prize (prize of the Hungarian Culture Department)
2010 Orszáczky prize (prize of the Society of Hungarian Composers)
2011 FONOGRAM 2011 Prize – INTEGRO/GRANDEUR The Best Hungarian Jazz Album in 2011.
2018 Artisjus Musical Foundation's award – “Performance of the year” – Modern Art Orchestra plays Béla Bartók
2019 FONOGRAM 2018 Prize – Best Jazz album - Modern Art Orchestra plays Béla Bartók’s 15 Peasant Songs
2021 MÜPA Composition Award – Best piece for large ensemble