Dénes Szabó was born in Makó in 1947 and is an outstanding figure in Hungarian and international choral life. He studied music in Szeged, Miskolc and Budapest and subsequently began his teaching career at the Zoltán Kodály Primary School in Nyíregyháza. He founded the Cantemus Children’s Choir in 1975. This has since grown into a choral institute and began to operate as an independent artistic organisation under his direction in 2004 with three choirs – the Cantemus Children’s Choir, the Pro Musica Girls’ Choir and the Cantemus Mixed Voice Choir. These choirs all perform at world–class standard.
He is highly sought after as a choral conductor and lecturer in music education at international festivals and conferences. He regularly holds masterclasses in choral conducting, choral voice production and the implementation of the Kodály method. He has also been a member of the judging panels for several leading international choir competitions in the USA, Slovenia, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Belgium.
In appreciation of his artistic achievements and dedicated work in music education he was awarded the Ferenc Liszt prize in 1985, the Bartók Béla – Pásztory Ditta Prize in 1993, the Kossuth Prize in 2000 , the Hungarian Cultural Heritage prize in 2004 and the IFCM Life Achievement Award in 2013 . He has been a member of the Hungarian Arts Academy since 2012.
In 2014 he was awarded the „Artist of the Nation” title.