Alex Pryrodny – Piano
Alex Pryrodny is a New York based pianist, composer, and improviser. A native of Ukraine, he has started playing piano at the age of 3 and by his early teens has won top prizes at several international competitions for classical pianists as well as the title of Ukraine’s best young composer. However his biggest passion has always been towards the art of improvisation; from childhood he has been imitating the styles of his favorite classical composers and made a regular feature of improvising on the themes from the audience in his concerts.
After immigrating to the US at age of 16, Alex has studied composition at the University of Maryland, jazz performance at the New School (B.M. in 2008) and privately with Fred Hersch, Hal Galper, Ari Hoenig and others. In 2012 Alex has been awarded the 2nd prize at Montreux Jazz Solo Piano Competition. He has released a solo piano album on Asiamuse label and has recently toured in Taiwan, Poland and Italy, including a performance at 2014 Venice Jazz Festival. Alex cites Glenn Gould, Bill Evans, Brad Mehldau and Egberto Gismonti among his major influences among pianists and is working on bridging the gap between European polyphony and African polyrhythms in his music.
Ryoju Fukushiro (Riyo) – Tenor Saxophone
Ryoju Fukushiro (Riyo) was born into a musical family in Kyoto, Japan in April 1986. When he was 17 years old, he devoted himself to taking Jazz saxophone lessons from Yoshiyuki Yamanaka, who is one of the most known warm toned tenor saxophonists in the Jazz scene of Japan.
Ryoju started to perform his own gigs when he was 19 years old in the Kansai area. Gaining a skill of a lyrical tone reminiscent of Stan Getz, he won the Grand Prix in the Jazz contest ‘’The Third Kobe Next Jazz Competition’’ in 2009.
After moving to Tokyo in 2012, Ryoju made an appearance in the Jazz Magazine ‘’Jazz Hihyou’’ as a young energetic saxophonist. Soon after that, he recorded the self-sponsored original CD ‘’Bamboo Grove’’. His original tune ”Bamboo Grove” was aired on radio for an electricity company’s commercial song in 2013.
In March 2013, Ryoju visited San Francisco to participate in the Jazz competition ‘’Jazz Search West’’, and won First Place the following month at the finals. As the prize, Ryoju received full tuition to the summer camp ‘’Jazz Camp West 2013’’.
In November 2013, Ryoju moved to the New York City vicinity to discipline himself, and study Jazz as a music based on American culture.
In March 2015, Ryoju was accepted to the Manhattan School of Music as an undergraduate student for the fall semester.