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Andrei Strizek is a doctoral musicology student at the University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign. He holds an assistantship at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, in the Events office, where he advances all of the School of Music concerts and several Marquee performances.

Andrei is an active performer, and is in demand as a music director and keyboardist for many musical theatre productions.

He earned his Bachelor's of Music Education from UW-Eau Claire in 2005, after studying with Dr Jerry Young, Dr Mark Heidel, Dr Randal Dickerson, and Dr Donald Patterson, and his Master's of Music Education from the University of Illinois in 2011.

He holds a wide range of interests, from musical theatre to jazz and popular music history to aesthetics, from the use of technology in education to audience development.

Please contact Andrei if you have any questions, comments or suggestions!

Read here for a full bio, or download Andrei's CV.

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Happy Birthday Uri Caine

A brief entry:

Uri Caine's birthday is today (thanks to Donna at Elements of Jazz for the tip!) - born in 1956. If you're not familiar with his varied amount of work, you should be.

I can't remember exactly how I stumbled upon Mr Caine. I do know that it wasn't too long before I interviewed him in 2003 for a project I was doing about Bach's Goldberg Variations. You can read the interview on my site, and you should also read about his own Goldberg Variations project. We stayed in contact for a little while, and I got to meet him at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis when he was there with the Dave Douglas Quintet. (I'd scan in the picture but it's buried right now.)

He's played with Dave Douglas, John Zorn, Don Byron, numerous other leaders, and also created a number of his own groups. He has rearranged the music of Wagner, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and also Verdi's Otello. He doesn't fit into one style. Caine can play classical, funk, "straight ahead" jazz and "avant garde" jazz, with some Klezmer music added for fine taste. His playing is exciting, his arrangements insightful, compositions varied, and personality down to earth.

Here's his Turkish Rondo from an album of Mozart pieces (I'm not sure why the Three Stooges are present ...):

Here's a clip from his album The Philadelphia Experiment, with Christian McBride & ?Love: Ain't It the Truth

Here's a YouTube clip (also from Donna):

And Mr Caine playing with the Dave Douglas Quintet:

Happy birthday, and best wishes for many more to come!

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