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“The queen of chamber jazz,”

All About Jazz

a complete artist and a major one at that, who is unafraid to experiment and weave many musical worlds into one.”

All About Jazz

The New York Times called her music "grandiloquent beauty that transitions easily from grooves to big cascades to buoyant swing."

Jazz composer/violinist Meg Okura is the 2023 winner of the ISJAC Fundamental Freedom Commission Awards, the 2022 BRIO (Bronx Recognizes Its Own) Award, Copland Residency Awards, Jazz Road Creative Residencies Award, NYC Women's Fund, and Chamber Music America New Jazz Works.

She founded her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble in 2006. The ensemble has performed in its hometown of New York at Birdland Jazz Club, Blue Note, Knitting Factory, Dizzy's Club Coca Cola at Jazz At Lincoln Center, The Stone, MoMA, and Saint Peter's Church. The ensemble has been presented at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Winter Jazz Fest as well as K.L. Jazz Festival in Malaysia. Okura has released six albums under her name since and two more albums in the works this year.

Her compositions have also been performed by BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra, New York Symphonic Ensemble, Sirius Quartet, Tasha Warren and Dave Eggar (clarinet and cello), and other jazz and chamber music groups.

Native of Tokyo and formerly a concert violinist, Okura toured Asia as the soloist and concertmaster of the Asian Youth Orchestra as a teen. She moved to the U.S. in 1992 and made her solo concerto debut at Kennedy Center with the late Alexander Schneider's New York String Orchestra. She then earned B.M. and M.M. degrees from the Juilliard School as a classical violinist, only to make a difficult shift to becoming a jazz musician. As a violinist, she has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Barbican Hall in the U.K., Madison Square Garden, Village Vanguard, Blue Note Tokyo, Hollywood Bowl, and numerous jazz and Jewish music festivals worldwide.

Okura's credit appears on over 100 albums/films/live videos, including David Bowie, Michael Brecker, Lee Konitz, Steve Swallow, Diane Reeves, Tom Harrell, Vince Giordano, Jeremy Pelt, Sam Newsome, and Grammy-nominated album by Emilio Solla y La Inestable de Brooklyn.

In 2018, she placed No. 6 Jazz Violinist in the International Critics Polls.

Ms. Okura's new commissioned work will be premiered by the Orchestre National de Jazz de Montréal at the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers Symposium in Montreal, Canada in May of 2024.

“From Asia to Africa and the Americas, and from classical to jazz—via the inspiration of electronic music—Okura sees beauty everywhere and translates it into her own exquisite idiom.”

All About Jazz

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