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Lars Helgert


(b Vallejo, CA, Sept 30, 1954). American composer and bass player. He studied bass as a youth with Charles Manning and then under Charles Siani at San Francisco State University, where he received a BA in music. He also studied Japanese gagaku music with Togi Suenobu and has become proficient on the shō, sheng, and other Asian instruments. Izu has performed with Cecil Tayor, Steve Lacy, and James Newton, and has been an important figure in Asian American jazz. He was a founding member of the groups United Front and Anthony Brown’s Asian American Orchestra, performing on the latter’s Grammy-nominated recording of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s Far East Suite (1999, Asian Improv). He has also worked with Jon Jang’s Pan Asian Arkestra. Izu has served as artistic director of the Asian American Jazz Festival and on the faculty of Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts....


Robert L. Doerschuk

revised by Mark Gilbert and Barry Kernfeld

(b Kōbe, Japan, March 25, 1961). Japanese pianist. The son of a jazz pianist and organist, he was a reluctant student of classical piano as a child. At first, under the influence of Jimmy Smith, he would only play jazz on the Hammond organ, but after attending a concert by Oscar Peterson at the age of 12 he took up jazz piano and transcribed some of Peterson’s solos. From 1980 he attended the Berklee College of Music, where he quickly assimilated new ideas through his work with Gary Burton and from the playing of such musicians as Chick Corea. Ozone recorded albums in a duo with Phil Wilson (1982), a faculty member at Berklee, and in a quartet led by Bobby Shew. More significantly, after graduating he joined Burton’s band and in 1983 made a world tour; he also began to give performances as an unaccompanied soloist. In ...


Tony Gould

[Robert Alexander ]

(b ’Akko, Palestine [now in Israel], Aug 24, 1943). Australian pianist. As a small child he lived in England, where he first studied piano. His family moved to Melbourne, Australia, in 1950 and during the 1960s he gained experience with various ensembles there. He performed and recorded with Ted Vining (from 1969), Alan Lee (1972–3), and Brian Brown (from 1974), and accompanied such visiting Americans as Dizzy Gillespie, David Baker, Phil Woods, Jimmy Witherspoon, Milt Jackson, and Lee Konitz; he toured Scandinavia with Brown in 1978. In 1984 he formed the group Blues on the Boil, which was influenced by the blues styles of Chicago and the Mississippi Delta; he also played with Onaje, a group led by Allan Browne. He is a member of the faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, where he teaches in the improvisation department....


Elise Kirk

(b Manjing, Jiangsu, April 20, 1935). Chinese composer. He graduated from the Central Institute of Music in Beijing, then for political reasons was sent to Xingjiang, where he worked for 20 years as a farm labourer. In 1979 he became conductor of the Beijing SO; in 1984 he joined the faculty of the Chinese Music Conservatory, where he is professor of composition and director of the Composition Research Centre. A widely recognized Chinese composer, Jin has written in all genres. His operas comprise A Warm Breeze Outside (1980), Savage Land (1987, First International Art and Music Festival, Beijing) and Sunrise (1990). In 1989 Savage Land won a prize at the Third International Music Theater Workshop in Munich. It was given its North American stage première in January 1992 by the Washington Opera (Eisenhower Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington, DC) to great acclaim, the first opera with a Chinese libretto (by Wan Fang, after her father’s play ...