The Hungarian clarinetist Kálmán Berkes took his degree at the Budapest Liszt Music Academy in 1972, winning second prize at the Geneva International Competition two years later and then going on to be a prizewinner in 1975 in Munich with his Opera Wind Quintet.
He has been principal clarinetist in a number of leading Hungarian orchestras, including the Hungarian State Opera, the Budapest Philharmonic and the Budapest Festival Orchestras and for ten years was a member of the Budapest Chamber Ensemble.
In 1982 he founded his own ensemble, the Budapest Wind Ensemble. Regular concert tours have taken Kálmán Berkes to European and other international festivals, to Japan and to the Americas, where he has appeared with James Galway, Maurice Andre, Zoltan Kocsis, András Schiff and others.
He has given mastercourses in Europe and America and holds a visiting professorship at the Musashino Music Academy in Tokyo.
On Naxos, Kálmán Berkes has recorded critically acclaimed readings of Brahms’s sonatas for Clarinet and Piano, a number of works by Weber including the Clarinet Quintet Op. 34, Concertos and Partitas by Krommer, Five Divertimentos (Naxos 8.553585) by Mozart and two volumes of Stamitz’s clarinet concertos, the latter played with “a beautifully liquid and even tone” according to BBC Music Magazine.
In addition, Kálmán Berkes’ recording for Naxos of Bartok’s Contrasts (Naxos 8.550749) with Jenő Jandó and György Pauk was a Gramophone magazine Editor’s Choice.