A World Class Musical Journey from Opera to Jazz
Saturday Evening, 7:00 pm, May 20
In their native Kazakhstan, brothers Ravil and Zhalil Gizatulin have been singing opera professionally for decades. They have toured Russia, Europe, China and South Africa.
Singing always has been a family affair for the Gizatulins, whose father loved singing. Ravil began his studies when he was 6 years old. When Zhalil was a child, he used to listen to his brother’s lessons.
Performing together and separately, they have sung leading roles in Verdi’s “Aida,” Bizet’s “Carmen,” Gounod’s “Faust,” Puccini’s “La Boheme,” Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” and Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov.”
Mikhail Romanov is an acclaimed jazz prodigy of the piano, who at age 23 won the 2009 Grand-Prix in Russia’s prestigious “Piano in Jazz” competition, held annually in Moscow.
The pianist, composer and arranger, winner of many international competitions in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, has played with some of the most celebrated jazz artists in America and Russia, including George Garzone, Neal Smith, Steve Davis, Valery Ponomarev, David Goloshekin, and Aleksandr Oseychuk.
He has toured widely in Russia as leader of his own jazz ensembles, most notably “Graduation 2012” and “Ural Jazz Trio”. A DVD of one of these live concerts was released in 2013.
Romanov attributes his recognized virtuosity to years of study at leading music schools in Russia and the U.S., where he focused on classical and jazz disciplines, under the eye of renowned teachers and performers. His music studies began at age seven and he won his first jazz competition at 12. The head of the jury, jazz legend Stanislav Berezhnov, was so impressed with his talent, that he offered to teach him jazz harmony and improvisation.
Five years later, at age 17, Romanov was accepted at the prestigious Moscow College of Jazz Art, to study with the esteemed Russian jazz pianist Igor Bril. He graduated in 2007 and continued his studies at the storied Gnessin’s Russian Academy of Music, Russia’s equivalent of Julliard in America. In 2009, the year he won the “Piano in Jazz Competition”, he performed in America for the first time, before an audience of thousands, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, in Las Vegas.
Romanov played with the jazz ensemble “Green Wave” in 2009-2010, led by the Russian saxophone luminary Alexandr Oseichuk. The year 2012 saw Romanov ascend to the front ranks of Russia’s vibrant jazz scene. He earned his second BA degree, this one from Gnessin’s Russian Academy of Music, and founded the jazz quartet “Graduation 2012”, featuring some of the best musicians in Russia. Their tour of the country drew enthusiastic crowds wherever they played.
He returned to America in 2012, to study at Berklee College of Music, in Boston, where he worked with jazz greats like Greg Osby, George Garzone, Joanne Brackeen, Ray Santisi and Neal Smith. He enjoyed the distinction of being the first Russian student to be selected for the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, an elite program led by jazz masters Joe Lovano, Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Kenny Werner and other notables.
After Berklee, Romanov returned to Russia and started the “Ural Jazz Trio”, touring the country again to rave reviews.
His goal is to anchor himself in New York City, where, he says with a smile, he can bring his “organ-like left hand” and his “five-finger ensemble of a right hand” to new and distinctive levels of jazz expression.