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Claire Levy

(b Plovdiv, 19 Dec 1937). Bulgarian composer, pianist, conductor, arranger, and bandleader. He was internationally acknowledged for his innovative ideas, cross-cultural experiments, and contribution to the concept of fusion and free improvisation. Classically trained at the Bulgarian State Conservatory (1955–60) under Pancho Vladigerov (composition) and Andrey Stoyanov (piano), he is the author of numerous compositions in styles and genres including jazz, pop, symphony, chamber, film, and theatrical music. He conducted the Radio and Television Big Band in Sofia (1962–6) and led his own avant-garde quartet, Jazz Focus’65 (1965–8), which won the Critic’s Prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967. In 1970 he left Bulgaria for political reasons and moved to the USA where he joined the Don Ellis Orchestra (1971–8), and later collaborated with the classical/jazz quartet Free Flight. He also played with outstanding jazz musicians including Art Pepper, Billy Cobham, and Dave Holland, among many others....

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(b Sofia, Bulgaria, Sept 22, 1960). Bulgarian pianist and jazz improviser. He graduated in piano from the Lyubomir Pipkov High School of Music in Sofia under Milena Kurteva (1975–9), and the Pantcho Vladigerov National Academy of Music under Yulia and Konstantin Ganevi (1979–84). At the age of 15 he won top prizes at international competitions in the Czech Republic and Italy. As a student he won second prize at the International Senigallia Competition (1979); third in the XXXIII International Busoni Competition (1981); and third prize and silver medal at the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels (1983). He won the first prize and grand prize in the Svetoslav Obretenov National Competition (1982). In 1986 and 1987 he received a Fulbright Grant to study with Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.

From 1988 until 1991 he taught piano at the Pantcho Vladigerov National Academy of Music, Sofia, and, since ...