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Modern Art Orchestra & Dave Liebman

MODERN ART ORCHESTRA performs From Bartók's Homeland at Symphony Space with Renessaince man Dave Liebman on October 2.

October 2, Thu | 7PM
Symphony Space | Peter Jay Sharp Theater | 
2537 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
The performance is FREE and open for the public
“To my ears this is the music of the future, where different worlds collide and create something quite fresh and adventurous.” — Bob Mintzer, saxophonist/composer
Balassi Institute Hungarian Cultural Center New York proudly presents
Modern Art Orchestra & Dave Liebman
The internationally renowned ensemble performs the program
From Bartók's Homeland
with the legendary saxophonist and NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman and with bandleader and trumpeter Kornél Fekete-Kovács


Hungary's internationally renowned Modern Art Orchestra is joined by legendary saxophonist Dave Liebman for a special one-night engagement at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Symphony Space on Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. The performance is the culminating event in the ensemble's U.S. tour, following six concerts on the west coast. This is the sole east coast engagement. Admission to the event is free.

“I immensely enjoyed my recording with the orchestra. The music was challenging and the musicians' professionalism was inspiring. Hungarian culture is steeped in great music and this group continues this grand tradition.” — Dave Liebman

The evening's program features a varied and adventurous selection of modernist pieces, including Bartók’s Allegro Barbaro, additional contemporary classical compositions and works by leading musicians of the ensemble. Bandleader and trumpeter Kornél Fekete Kovács and saxophonist Kristóf Bacsó contribute crispy, drifting and captivating compositions reflective of MAO’s roots in contemporary improvised music.

Joining Modern Art Orchestra for the occasion is Dave Liebman, who ranks among the definitive saxophone players of his generation. A renaissance man in contemporary music, Liebman has played alongside many iconic masters, while being recognized himself in 2011 by the National Endowment of the Arts as an NEA Jazz Master, and in 2013 a Legend of Jazz by the Jazz Education Network.

During its decade-spanning career, Modern Art Orchestra has garnered praise across many genres, but has been most noted for its fusion of big band orchestration with contemporary jazz and contemporary classical music. The ensemble has collaborated with leading musicians and ensembles, including Ennio Morricone, Bob Mintzer, Kurt Elling, Wallace Roney, Rhoda Scott, Julian Joseph, Mike Garson, Silje Neergard, Mezzoforte, New York Voices and Harlem Gospel Choir.

WATCH: Zsoldos Bela's Timpani Concerto
WATCH: Kurt Elling in concert with Modern Art Orchestra
WATCH: Kristóf Bascó's Lunar Dance
WATCH: Handel with Care, Fekete-Kovács Quintet

Modern Art Orchestra

“The Modern Art Orchestra was a pure pleasure to perform with. Totally professional, eager to perform and a wonderfully inspired sound. All four concerts were remarkable. I look forward to returning in a few years.”
 — Mike Garson, pianist
“My brief time with the Modern Art Orchestra was spent in the spirit of great creativity. I love the approach and soul of this wonderful orchestra.” — Kurt Elling, vocalist

Modern Art Orchestra, residing in Budapest, Hungary, is one of Europe's most renowned big bands. Since its formation in 2005, the brass ensemble has been a melting pot for the artistry of highly qualified young musicians in Hungary's classical and jazz music scenes. Founder and director of the band, Hungary's leading trumpeter Kornél Fekete-Kovács, established the first line of musicians with the dream of operating a contemporary big band which would focus on playing compositions by some of the country's best contemporary creative musicians. Throughout its first years of activity, Modern Art Orchestra received several masterpieces from world renowned composers.

Soon after its inception, MAO gained the status of an internationally renowned chamber orchestra that is engaged in many genres of music including jazz, pop, classical and contemporary. It has had countless successful projects together with the world's leading jazz musicians, including America's symbols of jazz artistry. The orchestra has collaborated with saxophonists Bob Mintzer and Dave Liebman, trumpeter Wallace Roney, organ player Rhoda Scott, singers Julian Joseph, Kurt Elling, the New York Voices, Harlem Gospel Choir and pianist Mike Garson. Its latest engagement just ended in the first half of this year, when the orchestra accepted an invitation from Maestro Ennio Morricone to perform as the ensemble for his Lifetime Achievement Tour in Europe's biggest concert halls.

Modern Art Orchestra's repertoire contains more than 15 hours of music uniquely composed for, dedicated to and premiered by the band. Another large part of the repertoire is built on a selection of compositions which reflect their musical roots in contemporary improvised music: big band orchestrations of music by George Frideric Händel, Béla Bartók, Gioacchino Rossini and Franz Schubert, as well as the best of the European jazz repertoire. Several band members are accomplished composers and mainstays on the contemporary jazz and crossover classical scene. MAO regularly plays their exciting pieces which merge jazz sensibilities with a knack for orchestration and brilliant solo musicianship.

MUSIC BOAT (Magneoton, 2013)
ECLECTIC PATH (BMC Records, 2009)
CHRISTMAS DIARY (Smart Music, 2006)

Kornél Fekete-Kovács

Kornél Fekete-Kovács graduated in 1998 from the Jazz Faculty of the Ferenc Liszt Music Academy in Budapest, Hungary. As a trumpet player, Fekete-Kovács has been one of the busiest musicians in his homeland, and has been a featured solo artist or session musician on more than one hundred recordings. As an arranger, he is very strongly presented in the contemporary, jazz and pop music scene in Europe.

Fekete-Kovács founded the Budapest Jazz Orchestra, and was the director until 2005. He has played in renowned international 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), the Central European Jazz Connection, as well as the Finnish-Hungarian Jazz Workshop.

In addition to many short compositions, Fekete-Kovács wrote his first full length composition, Budapest Jazz Suite in 2001. It was released on CD by BMC Records (performed by the Budapest Jazz Orchestra). His second full length piece written for big band, The Wayfarer, was debuted the next year by the EBU Jazz Orchestra. The work was recorded with a solo appearance by world renowned saxophone player David Liebman (Human circle – The Wayfarer, BMC CD 088). The Oak and the Bee premiered in 2006 at the MOL Budapest Jazz Festival by the Modern Art Orchestra, with special guest artist trumpet player Wallace Roney.

Kornél Fekete-Kovács has collaborated with Dave Liebman, Johnny Griffin, Bob Mintzer, Peter Erskine, Gary Willis, Wallace Roney, Julian Joseph, Herbie Mann, Marilyn Mazur, Kyle Gregory, Ray Anderson, Butch Lacy and Mario Gonzi.

Since 1995 he has also taught on the Jazz Faculty of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music.

David Liebman

Saxophonist, compser

David Liebman is considered a renaissance man in contemporary music with a career spanning four decades. He has played with many of the masters including Miles Davis, Elvin Jones, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, McCoy Tyner and others; authored books and instructional DVDs which are acknowledged as classics in the jazz field; and recorded as bandleader in styles ranging from classical to rock to free jazz. He is the recipient of the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts; he has been named a Jazz Educators Network (JEN) Legends of Jazz; as well as receiving multiple Grammy nominations. He is a Downbeat/Jazz Times Critics Poll winner (soprano sax); member of the French Order of Arts and Letters; holds an Honorary Doctorate from the Sibelius Academy (Helsinki, Finland); is the founder (1989) and artistic director of the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ); and has performed on over 500 recordings with over 200 among these featuring him as leader/co-leader. His recordings also attest to his mastery of composing music, with several hundred self-penned pieces available on CD.


For further information, press tickets, photos, and to arrange interviews, please contact Aleba Gartner, 212/206-1450;  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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