Roby Lakatos usually performs with his Ensemble consists of exceptional string instrumentalists, pianist and cimbalist and the group is often invited to play in orchestral arrangements.
Roby’s Ensemble today is composed of virtuoso musicians with classical musical education who are also well versed in the folklore tradition of Hungarian Gypsies.
Those guys definitely know how to warm up the audience; where to give jazz, where to crumble with the tune of the violin pizzicato, spill the piano passages and all of a sudden, they all get together and lead to the final, to an optimistic note!
Laszlo Balogh (guitar) was born in Budapest in 1987. He started studying music aged six with Professor Agnes Szekely of the Toth Aladar Academy in Budapest. His first instrument was the cimbalom, but he switched to the guitar when he was 12. He went on to study at the Franz Liszt Music Academy after which he became an “apprentice” in the Roby Lakatos Ensemble for two years; he is now solo guitarist.
Laszlo Boni (second violin) was born in Budapest in 1968. He studied with Roby Lakatos’s father, playing in his orchestra and earning a soloist’s diploma as a Gypsy violinist in 1987. He then spent six months in Japan, performing with a Gypsy trio that subsequently toured the whole of Europe. He worked in Antwerp from 1991 to 1994.
Vilmos Csikos (double bass) was born into a family of musicians in Budapest - his mother played the violin and his father was one of the best gypsy bassists in the country. From an early age, Vilmos was in contact with different music genres: American jazz, classical music, Romanian traditional music, etc. His favorite instrument has always been the double bass, but being too small to play at six, he was first introduced to the piano. He attended classes at the famous Dugonics School in Budapest. During that time, he won several national competitions. Vili regularly plays with Roby’s Ensemble since 2017.
Jeno Lisztes (cimbalom) was born in Budapest in 1986 and is the grandson of a famous cimbalom player. He was only four when he started studying the classical cimbalom with Agnes Szekely. He then studied classical and Gypsy music with Jeno Soros. He was still only 12 when he won the Racz Aladar Cimbalom Competition. He has been studying at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest since 2005. In 2012 he was invited to make the cimbalom part for a hollywood movie called Sherlock Holmes 2, Game of Shadows by Hans Zimmer. He is a member of Roby Lakatos Ensemble since 2006 and has his own jazz trio called Jeno Lisztes Cimbalom Project.
Robert Szakcsi Lakatos (piano) from Budapest, was part of Roby’s Ensemble from 2019. This exceptionally gifted jazz and classical pianist won the first prize of the solo piano competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2000. In 2005, he was voted best soloist at the Avignon International Jazz Festival.
Robert Lakatos has already recorded eight albums for Japanese label Atelier Sawano.
Roby Lakatos Ensemble possess a technical prowess and musical sensitivity any musician would envy, and they gave a lively performance of repertoire that audience enjoyed.
Some of the music was “schmaltz” that pulled at your heartstrings, and got you clapping in time at all the predictable places, like the medley from Fiddler on the Roof. And some of it of it, like Monti’s “Csárdás,” and Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee” were vehicles for the jaw-dropping, ‘fasten your seat-belts’ virtuosity of Lakatos and every member of his band.