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Biography

Laszlo Berki (1941 - 1997) was born in Budapest and was one of the most renowned exponents of Gypsy violin. His father Karoly Berki, known as the “King of the Gypsies”, was himself an excellent musician and conductor of Hungarian Group, Bura Brothers Orchestra, began to teach Laszlo to play violin at the age of 6.

At 14 while still studying at Oszk School of Music, Berki became the first soloist for Rajko Gypsy Orchestra. In 1985 he formed the unique 100 Gypsy Violins of Budapest for which he was artistic director, music arranger, vice-president, conductor plus he composed many works for the group.

He was also active with the National Folklore Ensemble and in 1992, Berki organized an international festival of the Gypsy arts. This festival was an important event which presented the Gypsies - a people with a long-established reputation as nomads - the opportunity to come together and cement the cultural and ethnic bonds which link them.

In 1973 he received the “Gold Sitar” Award for the best folk music record. He was also a recipient of the Hungarian Radio Award and a member of the “Order of the Star of the Republic of Hungary”.

Laszlo Berki died suddenly of a heart attack on October 25, 1997.

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