Photo: Zsófi Raffay
Kálmán Balogh was born in 1959 in Miskolc, Hungary. He became acquainted with the cimbalom in the age of 11, already. His first teacher was his uncle, Elemér Balogh, later he learned from Beatrix Szöllős and then at the Liszt Ferenc College of Music Ferenc Gelencsér. First he graduated in 1980 of cimbalom-solfeggio-singing master degree and later in 2013 again of folk cimbalom MA degree. Since 2007 he is the active teacher of the cimbalom within the Folk Music Dept. in the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest. He has been playing concerts wide across the globe from Lisboa to New York not only with folk musicians, in symphonic and jazz orchestras but also with contemporary bands, as well. He plays on more than a hundred music albums. Some of his many awards are the eMeRTon Award, a Kodály Zoltán Award, Martin György Award, and the Prima Primissima Award.
In the early years of his music career he was interested in Hungarian folk music. He played with great musicians and in bands like Muzsikás, Ökrös, Téka, Méta. Later on he started to go in for the world of classical music and jazz. In 1994 he recorded the Hungarian Dances by Brahms with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, he toured with Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, Miami Philharmonic Orchestra and played in the Carnegie Hall with Philadelphia Orchestra. In Hungary he played with Budapest Ragtime Band and the world-famous jazz pianist, Béla Szakcsi Lakatos. The evidence of being a versatile artist is that he also played in a movie film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. His own band, Gipsy Cimbalom Band still has been playing great concerts all over the world ever since he founded it in 1993. In Cimbalom Duo with another cimbalom master, Miklós Lukács they show the fusion of world music and jazz while as a co-founder and player of the recently formed band, Esszencia he plays a role in blending the genres of folk-classical-jazz with his playing his instrument, the cimbalom.