As a physics major in college, Stark found himself spending more time in the dormitory lounge playing piano than doing his homework. Inspired by Keith Jarrett's extended improvisations, the self-taught musician abandoned his scientific studies and just barely managed to get accepted into the music department of California State University at the age of 22. He gained a Masters degree in composition from Juilliard, studying with heavies like RogerRead more Sessions and Vincent Persichetti. Yet along the way, Stark never lost his interest in the tonal, highly improvisational styles that attracted him to music in the first place. Unlike the George Winston clones who gave solo piano music a bad name in the '80s, this Tokyo-based artist starts out with strong compositional ideas and actually develops them in intelligent and emotionally charged ways. Read less
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