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Ökrös Oszkár

Born in 1957 to a family of musicians in Szolnok, he received his first cimbalom lesson at his age of six from his grandfather. Ökrös was eight years old when he won Hungarian Television’s folk music competition in the instrumental solo category. When he was ten he began his studies at the conservatory by special permission of the Minister of Education.

After completing his studies, he toured the whole world, including the United States, Vietnam, and Australia, with famous folk ensembles (Budapest Folk Ensemble, Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, Honvéd Art Ensemble). In 1974, he was invited to play solo at the London Palladium at the birthday celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II, where he shared the stage with Josephine Baker, Tom Jones and Roger Moore. He has been a soloist on Hungarian radio and Hungarian television since he was fifteen.

Ökrös’ albums were released in 1990 (‘The Magician of the Cimbalom’) and 2002 (‘The Paganini of the Cimbalom’) and he has contributed to several other recordings as an instrumentalist. During his career he has performed with the most famous gypsy band leaders, as well as with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, featuring on some BFO recordings too.

Currently he is a member of the Board, principal cimbalom and soloist for the Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra. As an orchestra member he performed at Expo ’98 in Lisbon, in Hollywood, at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and in the Palais de Congress, Paris. In 1995 he received the Silver, and in 2001 the Golden Cross of Merit of the Hungarian Republic, while in 2013 he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit.