Lawrence Ku

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Lawrence Ku (Gu Zhong Shan), America-born Jazz guitarist and composer in China

a JZ Club artist


Lawrence Ku, along with a handful of other musicians, is at the forefront of the jazz scene in China. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Lawrence has done graduate work in jazz studies at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA and has received a master's degree in composition from the Longy School of Music in Cambridge. While in Boston, Lawrence was active in the very diverse music scene there, playing in various groups, notably the Chuck Gabriel Septet, The Tepfer/Ku/Spiegelman trio, and Evil Otto. As part of the Downbeat Award winning New England Conservatory Jazz Orchestra, he has had the privilege of playing in the world premiere of Gunther Schuller's Encounters, performing the music of George Russell at the International Association of Jazz Educators convention in New York City with the composer conducting, and performing in concert with composer Maria Schneider. He was also chosen to perform with Joe Lovano at Boston's Jordan Hall as part of a masterclass program. Lawrence has studied with such jazz greats as Charlie Banacos, Ben Monder, Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone and George Lewis. He has studied composition with Rand Steiger, Chinary Ung, Chaya Czernowin and Eric Sawyer, and conducting with Harvey Solberger and Jefferey Rink.

Originally coming to Beijing in 1997, Lawrence immediately became immersed in its fledgling jazz scene. Since late 2005, he has been living in Shanghai. He is now one of the most sought after jazz musicians and educators. His group, the Lawrence Ku Septet was featured at Helsinki Jazz in June of 2005 in Helsinki, Finland. He has performed in various festivals and venues in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, including the Beijing International Jazz Festival, the Midi Jazz Festival, Poly Plaza, the 21st Century Theatre, the Beijing Concert Hall, CD Jazz Club, JZ Club, Innonation Music Institute and many others. Lawrence has taught jazz guitar and theory at the Contemporary Music Institute and the MIDI School of Music in Beijing and has his own private studio. He is a founding member of the City Jazz Orchestra, one of China's first big bands, and is part of the Xia Jia Trio, the Toby Mak Quintet and PLTC. He also leads the Lawrence Ku Septet, which focuses on his original compositions, the Red Groove Project, a funk/groove based group, and his trio Triptych, which focuses mainly on the standard jazz repertoire. Currently, Lawrence resides in Shanghai.


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