Welcome to the Cegléd Drum Museum website. Sándor Kármán’s collection displays the development of popular music, jazz and classical music percussion instruments from 1900 to the present day. Although nothing can take the place of the three-dimensional experience of the museum, a guided tour and the actual sounds of the drums during a visit in person, here are some pictures of the most beautiful instruments in our collection.
Collector & Founder
I was given the role of guitarist in our first band in the middle of the sixties. However, it soon turned out that I was much more at home behind a drum kit. Seeing Gyula Kovács at the “Róna Jazz” event in Cegléd in 1968 was a very important experience for me. I threw myself into every area of the subject with elemental force. At the beginning I learned, played, designed instruments, later I taught, organised concerts-exhibitions and published. I was very interested in how the various drum-making companies solved the technical and acoustic problems associated with instrument construction. I came across original Mogyorósi, Sternberg and Wagner catalogues, which gave me an idea of the high standard of Hungarian instrument manufacturing before the war. Starting from the 1970s I became a constant visitor to the Dubán and Medveczky companies, to the Kozmosz instrument manufacturing cooperative and the Triál instrument shops. I had no knowledge of how western instrument factories worked and had to make do with talking to drummers who had travelled abroad. As little information came through official channels behind the iron Curtain, from 1971 I started to correspond with world-leading percussion instrument factories. Over the course of just a few years I had gathered so much information that I was inspired to organise an exhibition. This was entitled “The History of the Drum” and was held in Cegléd in 1979.
My second exhibition was less ambitious but more penetrating. It was aimed at the last hundred years of the many thousands of years of drum history: the development of the jazz drum. The exhibition entitled “One Hundred Years of the Jazz Drum” was held in Kecskemét in 1990. This exhibition made me realise that very few instruments and documents had remained from the period between the turn of the century and the Second World War. I decided to try to find what I could and arrange it into a system. In 1992 I created a museum out of the first pieces of my collection in my parents’ garage. News of the events spread quickly and the entire drumming profession visited Cegléd over the space of a few months.
Newspaper articles were written about the collection and it was even shown on television. Although it was only in a garage, the drum museum was one of the attractions of the town of Cegléd. Many renowned musicians, instrument makers and drummers playing in drum galas visited the museum, and the town leaders also liked to bring their guests here. In 1995, as the result of my technical-musician and decorator past, I designed and produced my first instrument, the Turbo Designer. This set-up was shown in 1999 at the Frankfurt Music Festival and was a great success, today it can be seen in the largest cabinet in the museum. We set up a restoration workshop. An instrument is subjected to a great many impacts over the course of 60 to 80 years. My friend Gyula Siska and his drum-healing hands help me with these.
The collection quickly outgrew the garage. I approached the Municipality of the Town of Cegléd with the idea of creating a town instrument museum. With its decision in 1997 the town leaders helped set up the drum museum by providing a 300-sqm property. The building stands in a heritage environment on the main town square and was in a rundown state. My family and those of my friends interested in the idea of the museum helped with the renovation work, which lasted three years. The ceremonial opening, which was also attended by prominent Hungarian percussion instrument distributors, took place on 27 November 2000 in the Cegléd Town Hall. Just like my exhibitions in 1979 and 1990, the Drum Museum was opened by composer and pianist János Gonda.
The museum presents the history of legendary drum kits, famous drummers and drum makers through photographs, personal items and the instruments themselves. Throughout its history, the drum museum has been visited by people from twenty-four countries in addition to Hungary.