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JANUARY 31, 2001 -- Internationally acclaimed composer and pianist Jon Jang ’78 and renowned saxophonist David Murray will perform in concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, February 8 in Oberlin College’s Finney Chapel.

The program, which is free and open to the public, will include original compositions by Jang and Murray, a founding member of the World Saxophone Quartet. The concert is part of a several-day visit to the campus by Jang, "perhaps the most intriguing figure in the Asian-American jazz movement"(American Prospect).

As a student in the Oberlin Conservatory, he studied composition with Wendell Logan, professor of African American music, and piano with Wilbur Price. While in Oberlin, Jang will meet with current Logan composition students, talk with Asian-American students and lead a jazz workshop.

During the concert, Jang will receive Oberlin’s 2001 Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award for demonstrating "in his/her life success that reflects Oberlin's values in careers, volunteer activities, and in life generally." Jang is the first Conservatory graduate to receive the award.

"A tireless Bay-Area cultural activist and an integral part of the Chinese community, Jang is a brilliant, creative musician," says the San Francisco Examiner. "Art and politics, to Jang, are compatible."

The artist, who was recognized by JAZZIZ as one of the 150 artists in the world who have changed jazz since 1983, was recently awarded The Meet The Composer New Residencies grant of $100,000 to serve as composer-in-residence at the Asian Pacific Cultural Center in Oakland, CA.

The residency combines his pioneering role in the Asian-American jazz movement with his efforts to serve the community by increasing audiences, performances, educational opportunities and interaction and dialogue, especially among young people and immigrant populations.

Since graduating in1978, Jang has followed his own path creating music which has become, in his words, "two flowers on a stem," a metaphor expressing the symbiotic relationship of his cultural identity as a Chinese American as well as his musical philosophy of honoring tradition and encouraging innovation. "My music does not come from the third stream, but the flowing stream."

Jang has received commissions from The Library of Congress, Kronos Quartet, Chanticleer and others--including Cal Performances--University of California at Berkeley and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. For them, he and James Newton composed "When Sorrow Turns to Joy--Songlines: The Spiritual Tributary of Paul Robeson and Mei Lanfang;" it premiered in Berkeley and Minneapolis last year.

In 1994, Jang composed the score for the dramatic adaptation of Maxine Hong Kingston’s "The Woman Warrior" which was staged at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Huntington Theatre in Boston and Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles.

As the leader of the Pan Asian Akestra ensemble, Jang "has a lengthy track record as a composer thoroughly versed in jazz and traditional Chinese lexicons," said Bill Shoemaker in American Prospect.

As artistic director of the Beijing Trio and several other ensembles, Jang has played in major concert halls and music festivals in China, Europe, South Africa, Canada and the United States. This fall, he and the Beijing Trio featuring drummer Max Roach will perform in China and Japan as part of a sister cities tour.

Jang also co-founded Asian Improv Records, which has helped Asian American artists explore the new jazz dialect during the last decade, and Asian Improv Arts to promote new musical directions by Asian Americans.

With over 10 recordings as a leader or collaborator, Jang has recorded with such distinguished artists as Roach, Murray, Newton, Maxine Hong Kingston, Zhang Yan and Jiebing Chen. He recorded Two Flowers on a Stem in 1996 for the Soul Note label. His most recent CDs include, on Asian Improv in 1999, Beijing Trio, Self-Portrait and Far East Suite, which was nominated for a Grammy for best large jazz ensemble performance.

Four months after the elections ending apartheid in South Africa in 1994, Jang became the first musician from San Francisco invited to perform in the Arts Alive Festival in Johannesburg, and he was featured in a documentary Jon Jang and James Newton: An African Experience by South African Broadcast Corporation and San Francisco’s KQED. He also has appeared on such NPR programs as Morning Edition and JAZZSET with Branford Marsalis.

David Murray was born Berkeley, Calif., and began playing tenor at age 9. He then found an interest in rhythm 'n' blues at age 12 and was leading groups as a teenager. He attended Pomona College in the Los Angeles area for two years, studying with Stanley Crouch. The tenor made his move to New York City in 1975 and began leading groups, making recordings and touring Europe. Later in the decade he worked with James "Blood" Ulmer's Music Revelation Ensemble, Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition.

Since the early '80s he has led his own quartets, octets and big bands and has recorded for a variety of labels, mostly European and Japanese. Murray was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1989 and the Danish Jazzpar prize in 1991. Some of his representative recordings are Live At The Lower Manhattan Ocean Club on India Navigation and Ming and Body And Soul, both on Black Saint.



Media Contact: Betty Gabrielli