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Jazz sensation to present free show in Topeka

By The Mercury

TOPEKA — Topeka Jazz Workshop, Inc., will present a special jazz event Sunday at White Concert Hall on the Washburn University campus that is free and open to the public:  The Eldar Djangirov Trio in concert.  The concert will last from 3 to 4:30 p.m. 

This event is made possible by TJW board member Liz Stratton, said Marcene Grimes, executive director of TJW Inc.

“Ms. Stratton has presented Eldar three times since 2007, primarily as a bonus concert for TJW season members.  This time she wanted to make it a community-wide event, and with the capacity at White Concert Hall, we believe we will be able to accommodate everyone who wants to come hear this exciting trio.  No tickets needed, just come and enjoy.”

Eldar, who is billed using his first name only,  was born 27 years ago in the former Soviet Union country of Krygyzstan.  He began studying piano with his music teacher mother at age 5 and at age 9 was “discovered” at a Russian jazz festival by a New York jazz enthusiast who arranged for him to come to the United States and study at the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. 

Eldar and his parents settled in Kansas City and his jazz career skyrocketed.  At age 12, he became the youngest ever guest artist on the Marian McPartland “Piano Jazz” show on NPR.

He was also discovered at age 12 by the late Jim Monroe, longtime president of Topeka Jazz Workshop, who invited him to participate in the 1999 Topeka Jazz Festival.  He continued to appear at these festivals annually through 2005.

Eldar currently lives in New York City, but still calls Kansas City home.

“While Eldar’s solo piano appearance here in 2011 leaned heavily on the classical side,” said Grimes, “this time he is bringing in a swinging jazz-oriented trio including (Topekan) Todd Strait on drums.”

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