Rising Polish Jazz Pianist/Composer Leszek Mozdzer at Merkin Hall

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The Kaufman Center presents jazz pianist and composer Leszek Mozdzer on Thursday, March 17, at 8 PM, at Merkin Concert Hall. Presented in association with the Polish Cultural Institute, the evening of solo piano works will include Mozdzer’s own passionate jazz interpretations of four Chopin mazurkas, as well as a selection of his original compositions.

Introduced to American audiences last fall at a sold-out concert with pianist Adam Makowicz at Carnegie Hall, Mozdzer is widely considered to be the past decade’s greatest revelation on the Polish jazz scene. Born in 1971, Mozdzer has been playing piano since the age of five. In 1991 he joined the Milosc band (“Love? in Polish). During the six years Mozdzer led Milosc, it became the most popular jazz group in Poland recording six albums, two with trumpeter Lester Bowie. In 1996, Mozdzer graduated from Stanislaw Moniuszko Conservatory in Gdansk.

Mozdzer received many accolades, including the Krzysztof Komeda Prize 1992 from the Polish Culture Foundation, the First Prize of the International Jazz Improvisation Competition in Katowice in 1994, the Mateusz Swiecicki Prize from Polish Radio 3, the Mayor of Gdansk’s medal for outstanding artistic achievements, and the Fryderyk Prize for Jazz Musician of 1998, as well as many citations in the magazine Jazz Forum.

Mozdzer has recorded 30 CDs, including four under his own name, the best known of which is Chopin Impressions. He has also collaborated with such jazz greats as Arthur Blythe, Buster Williams, Billy Harper, Joe Lovano and Archie Shepp. Since 1992 he has been a regular collaborator with Zbigniew Preisner, Poland’s leading film music composer, taking part in the recording of many of the composer’s film scores.

Today Mozdzer performs all over the world. The Frankfurter Allgemeine called Mozdzer “one of the greatest piano virtuosos,? and his jazz interpretations of Chopin’s pieces received a standing ovation at the prestigious Piano Festival in Chartres, France.

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