He started his musical studies at Kodály Zoltán Elementary School and Váczi Gyula Musical School of Salgótarján and graduated at Franz Liszt Academy of Music with a degree in jazz piano, composing and arranging. He studied under László Süle, Mihály Farkas, Ákos György, János Gonda, Károly Binder and Béla Faragó. After college Nagy studied classic piano with Tibor Dévai. János Nagy became a professor in 2011 at the Kodolányi János University of Applied Sciences, in Székesfehérvár but also teaches at Etűd School of Music since 2012. In 2008 he was asked to work on the curriculum for basic jazz-piano main subject and for piano minor subject. In 2012 his coursebook ‘Jazz-piano I.’ was published. In 2013, on request from the Hungarian Musical and Art School Association János Nagy worked on the teaching methodology of the basic jazz-piano subject. He is the artistic director for the Balatonfüred Improvisation and World Music Camp since 2010.
His own trio (Hard Line Trio, later Nagy János Trio) was founded in 1994. He is a member of Monamo and Eurpoean Mantra, along other bands. János Nagy is a recurring performer at numerous local and foreign festivals and played alongside Al diMeola, Alex Acuna, Bernard Maseli, David Murray, Dave Samuels, Dewey Redman, Dominique Di Piazza, Kim Plainfield, Krzysztof Scieranski, Garry Willis, Paco Sery, Shankar Lal, Sangoma Everett, Tony Lakatos, Vinx, Winston Clifford, Mihály Dresch, Gyula Babos, Gergő Borlai, Attila László, Ferenc Németh, Tibor Tátrai, Dezső ‘Ablakos’ Lakatos, Rudolf Tomsits, László Dés, Tamás Mohai, Béla Zsoldos, Béla Lattmann, Gyula Csepregi, Pál Vasvári. He performed on many albums and concerts of various Hungarian bands and performers as a soloist and arranger.
In 2003 he adapted the opera ‘Carmen’ of Bizet in tandem with Miklós Malek. Their adaptation resulted in a whole new creation incorporating jazz, classic and contemporary music. Al Di Meola also contributed at the premiere. The piece was also shown in the widely known roman amphitheater of Croatia, the Pulai Arena. János Nagy recorded animation movie scores and worked as a musical director at New Theatre.
He went on tours in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia, Russia, Romania, Greece, Serbia, Finland, Germany, Spain, England, Macau, India and Izrael. As to date János Nagy has two own bands: Tamara Mózes – Vincent Mascart – János Nagy Trio and The Nagy János Experiment with members Dominique Di Piazza (bass guitar), Gergő Borlai (drums), Xavier Desandre Navarre (percussion).
Albums (as composer, band leader):
János Nagy – Hard Line Projekt (1999)
János Nagy – Táncok (2000)
Eszter Horgas – Hazafelé (2001)
Szerényi-Kóta-Nagy – Szívemet Hozzád emelem (2003)
Nagy János Trio – Tale (2004)
Szerényi-Kóta-Nagy – Adj már csendességet (2005)
Free Style Chamber Orchestra – Pop Music (2006)
Free Style Chamber Orchestra – Pannon Celtic Dance (2008)
Nagy János Trio – Zoo (2010)
Nagy János Trio/solo – Janos Nagy in London (2012)
Nagy János-Frankie Lato – Classic in Jazz (2012)
Monamo – Ne hagyj elesnem (2012)
1995 – Jazz-piano Improvisation Contest in Vilnius, 2nd prize
1996 – Jazz Juniors Competition, Krakow – best group, best soloist
1997 – Getxo International Jazz Festival – best soloist
1998 – In Line band, eMeRTon Award for Best Group of the Year
2000 – Hungarian Worldmusic Orchestra: eMeRTon Award for Best Group of the Year
2001 – Best Jazz Concert of the Year Award with David Murray at Mediawave Festival (Győr)
2003 – eMeRTon Award for Best Instrumental Soloist of the Year
2005 – Artisjus Award
2011 – Erkel Ferenc Award
Member of Djabe since