pianist / composer / arranger
“His piano style definitely reflects Krisztián’s training in classical music; not only because of his technique, but the voice-leading, the unique way he transforms the musical material into refined piano music. His music’s soundscape also bears the traces of contemporary classical music: the peculiar meta-rhythmic influences, and, above all, the melodies. Far from being disturbing, his music expands conventional genre boundaries, the very reason that makes the music so powerful. And, of course, what we hear is very much based on energetic, enchanting jazz music worthy of our devoted attention.”
Márta Németh (JazzMa, 2020)
Oláh Krisztián Quartet (2019-)
Oláh Kálmán - saxophone
Orbán György - double bass
Serei Dániel - drums
The main elements of the compositions of pianist-composer Krisztián Oláh, who has gained prestigious accolades in the world of jazz, are compositional techniques of classical music and the improvisational flow and abstract rhythm of contemporary jazz. He seeks to create a synthesis of the two genres with the need of a dynamic, contemporary music world. Although the band's program is based on Krisztián's compositions, the members, Jr. Kálmán Oláh, György Orbán and Dániel Serei are all great improvisers, so spontaneous and collective improvisation is an integral part of the production, which carries today's spirituality and musical tools, thus forming a fresh and complex world of sound. His way of thinking about music has changed fundamentally, when he started his second degree studies, as student of the composition faculty at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in 2020. And thus it’s clear, that his second album as a leader and composer is an important milestone in his artistry, as he and his compositions turn from impulsivity to consciousness.
At the back of my mind (2020)
Parallel Reflections (2020-)
Oláh Krisztián Quartet, string orchestra, percussion
His Parallel Reflections offers a contemporary reinterpretation or recontextualization of the interplay of a string orchestra and a jazz quartet. The four-movement suite is informed by neoromantic and 20th-century classical music, as well as by the harmonics and rhythms of jazz.
Oláh Krisztián Quartet | Opus Jazz Club | Budapest, HU
Gyémánt Bálint & Oláh Krisztián | Budafoki Pezsgő- és Borfesztivál | Budapest, HU
Pálmai Panna & Oláh Krisztián | Jazzmine | Vác, HU
Nagy Emma Quintet | Jamboree Jazz Festival | Barcelona, ES
Gyémánt Bálint & Oláh Krisztián | Józsefvárosi Jazzfesztivál | Budapest, HU
Coltrane Legacy | Jedermann | Budapest, HU
Nagy Emma Quintet | Budapest Jazz Club | Budapest, HU
Karosi Júlia Quartet, Jazz Air | Budapest Jazz Club | Budapest, HU
Karosi Júlia Quartet | Collegium Hungaricum | Wien, AT
Young as he is, pianist Krisztián Oláh is a key figure of the Hungarian jazz scene. Born to a hungarian musician family, his father Kálmán Oláh - a world renowned jazz pianist and composer - took responsibility for his early education in jazz piano and composing. Krisztián described his early inspirations: “It has hardly been twenty years since I began exploring and roaming across the vast complex universe of music. I must be extremely lucky to be surrounded by an immense amount of inspiration. Primarily it is my family, my mother and father who have always believed in my potentials and encouraged and supported me. They introduced me into the world of classical music and jazz which - I believe - are the most complex genres of music.”
Krisztián graduated from Bela Bartok Conservatory in classical piano major, and as the time being he attends the jazz piano department of Franz Liszt University of Music and Musicology under the instruction of Professor Karoly Binder.
He was chosen the best soloist at 5th Jazz Competition of Marosvasárhely in April 2013. He was selected as one of the top four pianists in the Nottingham Solo Piano Competition in 2014. He was granted the special award for the most creative performance at the International Piano competition in Vilnius, Lituania.He was only twenty when he finished third at the 2015 Montreux Jazz Festival. During the two-week academic programme that followed, he appeared in concert with such greats as Al Jarreau, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Nils Petter Molvær and Joe Sanders. In the same year he was awarded with the Creative Art Prize, the Junior Prima Prize and the Hungarian Jazz Prize of Gramofon Magazine. In 2016 the Hungarian Jazz Federation elected him young jazz musician of the year, and in 2018 he was the first Hungarian to be invited to the international competition that the American Thelonious Monk Institute organized for the world’s best fourteen jazz pianists.
He spent a long time mulling over recording his first album, one that would consist solely of his own compositions, and in january of 2019, the moment for it arrived, when he founded his Quartet with top hungarian musicians. He presented thoroughly modern material from the result of this project: At The Back Of My Mind. The music of At The Back Of My Mind grew out of his U.S. experiences from the period of preparing for and participating at the Monk competition. Breaking through to the surface in compositions whose mature sound belies his youth and via the expressive means of jazz are all the musical inspirations that allude to the legacy of European classical music from the past centuries. Thanks to the wonderful improvisational skills of his companions, Kálmán Oláh, György Orbán and Dániel Serei, the audience can look forward to plenty of extemporisation. His piece for chamber orchestra and jazz band, Parallel Reflections offers a contemporary reinterpretation or recontextualization of the interplay of a string orchestra and a jazz quartet. The six-movement suite - composed and arranged by Krisztián - is informed by neo romantic and 20th-century classical music, as well as by the harmonics and rhythms of modern jazz.
His way of thinking about music has changed fundamentally, when he started his second degree studies, as student of the composition faculty at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in 2020. And thus it’s clear, that his second album as a leader and composer, Crescendo is an important milestone in his artistry, as he and his compositions turn from impulsivity to consciousness. After a while, it became clear to the pianist: in order to be able to show the most of himself through his music, it’s not enough to connect with the great masters, but he needs also a regular practice in self-knowledge, as this is the only way he can honestly transfer his thoughts and emotions to the audience.
2014: Targu-Mures International Jazz Competition: Best Soloist
2015: Vilnius International Jazz Competition: The most creative performance
2015: Montreux Parmigiani International Piano Competition: III. Prize
2015: Junior Prima Prize
2015: Creative Art Prize
2015: Gramofon Hungarian Jazz Prize
2016: Young musician of the year by the Hungarian Jazz Federation
2016: Szepesi György Prize
2017: Orszáczky Prize for the best jazz composition of the year
2018: Finalist at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition in Washington D.C.
2020: Composition prize of Palace of Arts, Composition for small jazz band grand prix
Highlights of important concerts and projects:
April, 2013: New Generations: Concert of Oláh Kálmán & Oláh Krisztián (Budapest Spring Festival)
June, 2013: Oláh Krisztián Trio (LantarenVenster, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
March, 2014: Szakcsi Lakatos Béla & young talents (Palace of Arts, Budapest, Hungary)
March, 2014 Suite for chamber orchestra & jazz trio premiere (Anti-racist world day, Gödör, Budapest, Hungary)
February, 2015 : Oláh Krisztián Trio & Mike Fletcher Trio (Palace of Arts, Budapest, Hungary)
April, 2015: Oláh Krisztián: 2 Formations (Solti Hall, Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, Hungary)
January, 2016: Montreux finalists (Palace of Arts, Budapest, Hungary)
March, 2017: Oláh Krisztián Quartet (Eurojazz festvial, Mexico city, Mexico)
April, 2017: Light in the Darkness solo album release concert (Fonó, Budapest, Hungary)
Febraury, 2018 : Zoller Attila memorial concert (Palace of Arts, Budapest, Hungary)
July, 2019 : Christiania duo (Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark)
February, 2020: Oláh Krisztián Quartet: At the back of my mind album release concert feat. Rick Margitza (Palace of Arts, Budapest, Hungary)
March, 2020: Oláh Krisztián Quartet: At the back of my mind tour (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary)
October, 2020: Oláh Krisztián: Parallel Reflections world premiere (CAFe Budapest festival, Solti Hall, Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, Hungary)
August, 2021: Oláh Krisztián Quartet & Hornyák Balázs - Kaposfest, Kaposvár, HU
March, 2022 Oláh Krisztián Quartet & Lukács Miklós, Crescendo album premier - Hungarian House of Music
Everyone can possess the instinctive ability for improvisation – interview with jazz musician Krisztián Oláh
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