Popular Hungarian Bandleader Benkó Dies

  • 17 Dec 2015 8:00 AM
Popular Hungarian Bandleader Benkó Dies
Clarinet player Sándor Benkó, founder of the popular Benkó Dixieland Band, died on Tuesday at the age of 75, his family announced. Benkó started the group while a high school student in 1957. Its first album was certified a gold disc. The band toured the world, took part in many music festivals and received numerous awards. The band has no fewer than 1,800 professional recordings.

The group toured the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia and East Germany, and from the 1970s Western Europe, taking top prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1971 and winning the audience award in San Sebastian in 1972. Britain’s Music Week magazine elected them the stars of the year in 1976.

Benkó first learned how to play the violin, then switched to the saxophone, but became truly well known as a clarinet player.

Later, Benkó obtained a degree in electrical engineering at the Budapest University of Technology, where he taught until 1995.

He was awarded the Kossuth Prize in 2006 and also received the Hungarian Order of Merit, medium cross.

Funeral arrangements are yet to be announced.

Source: Hungary Around the Clock

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