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Issei AoyamaJapanese guitarist, Issei Aoyama, leads a quartet for the third concert of the Performing Arts Studio's 2010-2011 Jazz Concert Series taking place at 7:30 p.m. on January 9, 2011 at the historic Santa Fe Depot. Admission to the concert is free but voluntary donations by attendees are accepted and encouraged. Refreshments will be provided.

Issei Aoyama was born in 1979 in Nagasaki, Japan, and grew up in Fukuoka, Japan. At the age of 16, Issei left Japan for Toronto, Canada, and a year later moved to the United States. In 2003, he received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama. The following year, Issei took a job with Oklahoma City University, where he still works today as a Senior Graphic Designer.

Issei's talent and passion for music started with his family. His father played drums, his mother played traditional Japanese instruments (the koto and shami-sen) and his sister played piano. Issei was exposed to a wide variety of music at an early age and developed a love for jazz music due to his father's love of jazz. At the age of 5, Issei began playing piano and when he was 13, switched to guitar. At age of 20, Issei started focusing on jazz and studied by listening to countless jazz records. Issei performs as a soloist as well as with combos and larger groups in a variety of venues throughout Oklahoma.

Joining Issei for this concert will be Dr. Cory Gavito on piano, Michael Geib on double bass, and Justin Walke on drums. Dr. Gavito earned a PhD in Musicology at the University of Texas. Michael Geib is a music professor at the University of Central Oklahoma and is currently earning his PhD in string performance from Florida State University. Justin Walke earned a Master of Jazz Performance degree from the Manhattan School of Music and currently teaches at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Academy of Contemporary Music.

According to Issei, his biggest influences as a jazz guitarist include Peter Bernstein, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Gerge Van Eps. Although those three musicians are also guitarists, he finds plenty of inspiration from many other musicians who don’t play guitar. People coming to his show can expect to hear standards and his original compositions played in contemporary jazz style. When asked why he’s playing with Cory, Michael and Justin, Issei said, “We have been playing together for years. They are very talented musicians. And they are good people. Those are the most important things for me.”

Sunday Night Jazz Concerts are made possible by grants from the Oklahoma Arts Council, as well as the generous support of many local businesses, organizations and individuals.

For more information about Sunday Night Jazz Concerts or other PAS programs, call 307-9320.