Monday, May 28, 2007

Yelena Jurayeva, a new talent in the jazz scene

This year's Frankfurt Jazz Scholarship was awarded to the Kazakh pianist Yelena Jurayeva who lives in Frankfurt since 1998, as Hans-Jürgen Linke reports ( Frankfurter Rundschau ). An independent jury (Ulrich Olshausen, Günter Hottmann, Heinz-Dieter Sauerborn) chose the winner among 33 applicants. Jurayeva holds a diploma in classical music from the Almaty conservatory and only developed an interest in jazz since in Frankfurt.

After the award ceremony she performed, showing the "fluent, dynamic piano playing" praised by the jury as well as her "special sense for the structure of suspense", even though the music, as Linke remarks, often "sounded less like jazz than like an improvised music in the tradition of European Russian piano music adorned and enriched with jazz elements". With the award money Jurayeva plans to take lessons with Kenny Barron and Herbie Hancock in New York.

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