Benkó Dixieland Band – A jazz band formed in 1957, which became one of the best-known and most popular jazz ensembles in Hungary and abroad. Their international career began in the 1960s by touring the neighboring countries in Europe. In the 1970s they left for the West. In 1998 they played in front of audiences of 10,000 and worked with such leading pop-stars as the American Mit Jackson, Freddy Hubbard, Al Grey, Buddy Tate, Joe Newman, Buddy Wachter, Henry Questa, Joe Muranyi, Eddy Davis, Cynthia Sayer, Herry Sweet Edison, Albert Nicolas, Wild Bill Davison, or the European Chris Barber, Kenny Ball, Huub Janssen, Acker Bilk – and many others. The Benkó Dixieland Band plays 200-250 concerts annually in Hungary and abroad. Their 64th record came out recently; and 130 hours of TV programs were prepared of their performances, watched worldwide by 600 million people. They often go on world tours. The members of the band are: Vilmos (William) Halmos (piano, singing), Jenő (Eugene) Nagy (banjo), Gábor (Gabriel) Kovacsevics (drum), Zsolt Kelemen (double bass), Iván Nagy (singing), Béla Zoltán (trumpet), Sándor (Alexander) Benkó (clarinet, band manager). In 1982 in California they won the grand prix of the Sacramento Jazz Festival. In 1983 it was the “International Jazz Band of the Year”, also in California. In 1987, American President Ronald Reagan recognized their outstanding work, thanked them in the name of the American people, saying that the Dixieland Band represents American jazz at the highest level in the world. In 2001 the Band received the Hungaroton Oeuvre Prize. In 1997, the President of the Republic of Hungary, Árpád Göncz presented to every member of the Band the “Order of the Civil Servant Cross of the Republic of Hungary”. In 2006 the Dixieland Band received the highest prize for art in Hungary: the Kossuth Prize. – B: 1637, T: 7456.→Göncz, Árpád.