“He’s the hottest pianist in jazz, and he likes to mix things up, whether it’s bebop, thrash metal or dubstep. But his heart is in the folk music of his native land, Armenia.”–The Guardian
Tigran Hamasyan became one of the most distinctive pianists of his generation by fusing jazz improvisation with the rich music of his native Armenia. Hamasyan won the Montreux Jazz Festival’s piano competition in 2003 — when he was just 14 years old. He released his debut album, World Passion, in 2005, and the following year he won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition.
A musical omnivore, Hamasyan draws inspiration from rock, classical, metal and electronica. While he’s best known for performing his own compositions, the pandemic afforded him time to focus on his love of the classic American songbook of the early 20th century, songs written by second-generation immigrants that became timeless gems through interpretations by jazz legends. This led to his latest album, StandArt, where he brings his improvisational chops to deconstructed takes on old favorites, participating in American musical traditions while at the same time challenging familiar categories. In times of increasing segmentation and division, his experimental, free-spirited approach is an inspirational reminder of the ways in which creativity overflows boundaries.
Funds provided by the Royce Gala Endowment.