- Tamar Barzel
(b New York, NY, Aug 30, 1955). American composer, improviser, pianist, and keyboard player. He has been a central figure on New York’s downtown scene since the 1980s. His interest in Beckett, Feldman, Monk, and Webern informs his composition, which engages the formal function and expressive potential of attenuation, fragmentation, and lacunae. From an early age he immersed himself in recordings by jazz composer-pianists, including Joplin and Morton, followed the Ellington Orchestra, and frequented the city’s jazz clubs. He studied at the High School of Music and Art, took private lessons with jaki Byard (1968–73), and attended a one-week seminar with Duke Ellington at the University of Wisconsin (1972). He received degrees in composition from the New England Conservatory (BM 1977) and Yale University (MM 1979). In 1981 he attended Mauricio Kagel’s summer seminar at Centre Acanthes, Aix-en-Provence, France, then began dividing his time between Yugoslavia and Lower Manhattan, where he worked with Glenn Branca, participated in John Zorn’s structured improvisations, and developed lasting collaborations with several other artists, including Shelley Hirsch, Roy Nathanson, and ...