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Meg Okura

New York, NY         

Meg Okura is the 2018 recipient of Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works Grant. The New York Times recently described her music as “grandiloquent beauty that transitions easily from grooves to big cascades to buoyant swing.” She is the founder of the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, in which “Okura’s classical virtuosity combines jazz, Jewish and Japanese cultures into a distinctive transcendental musical identity” (New York City Jazz Record).

Okura has received numerous grants and awards including New Music USA, American Composers Forum Jerome Fund for New Music, Meet The Composer, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Independent Music Awards, Urban Artist Initiative, and has been the finalist in Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize, International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers, Ball State Symphony Band Commision, honorable mentions in Independent Music Award, International Saxophone Symposium Composition Competition, and John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
As a violinist, she has toured internationally with the late Michael Brecker, Steve Swallow, Tom Harrell upon her graduation from Juilliard, where she was the concertmaster of the Juilliard Opera Orchestra. Okura advanced her career as a jazz violinist and has been heard at venues from the Knitting Factory to Carnegie Hall to Madison Square Garden, from Barbican Centre in London to Hollywood Bowl in California, from Village Vanguard to Blue Note Tokyo, and festivals and concert halls around the world. She has appeared on dozens of recordings with a wide range of artists including David Bowie, Lee Konitz, Diane Reeves, Heidi Grand-Murphy, Sam Newsome, Jesse Harris, Jeremy Pelt, Ziggy Marley, and Emilio Solla with whom she earned the Grammy Nomination.

She is also credited on many movie soundtracks as a solo violinist, erhu player and composer/arranger, including Louie, TV series. Her work as an improvising violinist extends to three Cirque du Soleil productions (Varekai, Wintuk, and Corteo), and has collaborated and performed with Oscar nominee actor and Columbia recording artist Terrence Howard. For the past ten years, Okura has been a member of a Jewish/Middle Eastern band Pharaoh’s Daughter.

As a composer, her works have been performed by various groups, including C. Eule Dance, the New York Symphonic Ensemble, Sirius String Quartet, Asia America Youth Orchestra, Meetinghouse Jazz Orchestra, BMI/NY Jazz Orchestra, the J-Orchestra, the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, and others.

Her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble has released four albums to date. Meg Okura’s Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble (2006), Naima (2010), Music of Ryuichi Sakamoto (2013) and IMA IMA (Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble) which was chosen to be No.4 Best Jazz Album of 2018 on textura.com, and Dan Bilawsky’s Best Release of 2018 on All About Jazz.

A Night Insomni (No Time)

a composition by Meg Okura
performed by the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble with a special guest, Noriko Ueda

Meg Okura (violin)
Anne Drummond (flute)
Sam Newsome (soprano saxophone)
Sam Sadigursky (bass clarinet)
Riza Printup (harp)
Carmen Staaf (piano)
Noriko Ueda (bass)
Rob Garcia (drums)

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Tango (Music of Ryuichi Sakamoto)

composition by Ryuichi Sakamoto
live performance at Lincoln Center Rubenstein Atrium
Meg Okura (violin)
Anne Drummond (flute)
Helen Sung (piano)
Martin Wind (bass)
Willard Dyson (drums)

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AFRASIA

a composition by Meg Okura
Tom Harrell (trumpet)
Meg Okura (violin)
Anne Drummond (flute)
Sam Newsome (soprano saxophone)
Sam Sadigursky (bass clarinet)
Rez Abbasi (guitar)
Riza Printup (harp)
Brian Marsella (piano)
Evan Gregor (bass)
Paul Wells (drums)

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