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About Máté

Photo: Anna Sámpár

The music of jazz pianist Máté Lachegyi prefers to walk on the edge, creating a constant sense of excitement. He designs and executes complex, fascinating structures, often picturesque in their appearance, though sometimes more like a motion picture. His music has an inherent lyric quality, showing an attitude of awe, too. While it breathes open rhythmic structures, the groove never stops. Lachegyi is a very sensitive but also daring pianist when it comes to finding an idiosynchratic succession of chords, which is the basis for his improvisation, building up large, transparent structures. The young pianist, who graduated from the Jazz Department of the Liszt Academy in Budapest, and completed his masters at the Amsterdam Conservatory, has found the way which is only his. He utilised the inspiration provided by as versatile sources as renaissance vocal poliphonic music, Bartók, Scandinavian jazz, Arvo Pärt, Meredith Monk, lately also Gábor Gadó and Ambrose Akinmusire.

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Máté Lachegyi was born in 1987 in Vác, Hungary in a musical family. He started piano studies at the age of 5 in his hometown; his first teacher was Zsuzsanna Cs. Nagy. Later he learnt to play the organ with Anasztázia Bednarik. He attended the faculty of organ, later music theory at the Tibor Pikéthy Secondary School of Music in Vác. He began to learn jazz at the age of 13; his first teacher was the Hungarian-American jazz pianist, Nat Nichols. In 2009, he graduated in jazz piano from the Liszt Academy in Budapest, where his tutor was Károly Binder. During his academy years he founded his first band named Aurora Borealis Quartet, influenced by Hungarian folk music and Scandinavian jazz.

After the music academy years, he completed the Faculty of History of Art at Péter Pázmány Catholic University, where he received a master’s degree in 2016. His thesis on the baroque Franciscan church of Vác is also published as a book. During the university years, he did not stop playing music, performing extensively in various bands. He was a member of the quartet of the renowned Hungarian singer, Ágnes Lakatos from 2009. With bassist Péter Baksa and drummer Balázs Krommer they founded Trio Afium, with which they worked for three months in Dubai in 2010, and since then they perform regularly in Hungary and Europe. He also started a keyboard duo with his long-time friend, Bencze Molnár, first on piano, then on various electric instruments. He was a member of Alma Bencze Quartet.

He is committed to solo piano performing; his first CD, Double Standard (2009) is also a solo recording. He also works regularly with his family members: his father, Imre plays the recorder; he has two younger sisters: Anna plays on viola da gamba and cello, Róza plays on violin. With them they mainly play classical and early music, as well as his father’s compositions. These latter have also been released on the 2012 record, Visio.

Between 2012—2016, he taught jazz piano and art history in his former school in Vác. In 2013 he was granted the Dezső Lakatos ‘Ablakos’ jazz performance scholarship, in 2014 the Certificate of Merit for Talent Development by the City of Vác and in 2016 the Young National Talent Scholarship of Hungary.

In 2016 he moved to the Netherlands, where he completed the jazz piano master’s programme at the Conservatory of Amsterdam in 2019. He formed his new trio with Latvian bass player Uldis Vītols and German drummer Clemens Lotz, as well as the Máté Lachegyi Quartet with French saxophone player Adrien Losco, Israeli bass player Omer Govreen and Hungarian drummer Miklós Kovács. He also works with various other ensembles, such as Dutch chromatic harmonica player, Armand van Wijck’s CoolHaven Quintet or Dutch drummer, Ilia Rayskin’s Introspections Group.

Máté is also active in the Hungarian community in the Netherlands, as the conductor of the Hungarian Choir of Amsterdam as well as playing regularly at Hungarian cultural and religious events.