Music Monday: Akiho: Concerto for Steel Pans

Andy Akiho (born 1979) is not your run-of-the mill composer. After graduating with a BA in performance (on steel pans) from the University of South Carolina, he moved to New York City with no contacts and no money hoping to make a career as a Jazz performer. He drove around Brooklyn until he heard another player, and within a few months had managed to establish himself as a widely respected player in the scene there. He gradually started to lengthen and intensify his solos, and soon started improvising original pieces from scratch. At a certain point, he enrolled in the contemporary performance techniques Master's program at the Manhattan School of Music, and also began to explore composition in a more systematic fashion. (In the middle of all this, in 2006, he went to Washington DC to help out in his father's sushi restaurant, but juggling performing, composing, and restauranteering proved to be too much even for him.)

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