Born in Makó in 1947, Dénes Szabó is a leading figure in choral music, both in his native Hungary and around the world. He studied music in Szeged, Miskolc and Budapest, then began his teaching career at Zoltán Kodály Primary School in Nyíregyhaza. In 1975 he founded the Cantemus Children’s Choir, which has grown into a choral institution that began to function as an independent artistic organisation in 2004. It is currently made up of three choirs: the Cantemus Children’s Choir, the Pro Musica Girls’ Choir and the Cantemus Mixed Voice Choir, all of which have received high levels of international recognition.
He has received wide acclaim as a choral conductor in international festivals and as a lecturer on music education. He regularly offers masterclasses in choral conducting, choral vocal work and the Kodály method. Szabó has been a member of the jury for numerous international competitions.
As a result of his artistic talent and dedication to musical teaching, he has received a number of awards (Ferenc Liszt Award, 1985; Bartók Béla–Pásztory Ditta Award, 1993; Kossuth Award, 2000; Hungarian Cultural Heritage Award, 2004; IFCM Life Achievement Award, 2013). He has been a member of the Hungarian Academy of Arts since 2012. In 2014 he received the title of “Artist of the Nation” from the Hungarian government.