Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Ichkhanian, Levon, fretted and fretless guitars, oud, bouzouki and banjitar, composer; b. Beirut, Lebanon, 16 May 1964. Born of Armenian descent, a third generation musician, Levon's musical odyssey first took shape in Lebanon. He studied classical guitar under the direction of his uncle, Professor Joseph Ichkhanian. At the age of twelve, his family immigrated to Canada. One year later, he gravitated to the electric guitar and began his professional performing career, playing in a band with his jazz pianist father, Edouard. Levon's first professional gig was at the age of 13 with Adiss, the pioneer modern Armenian singer.
Levon's talent was sufficiently recognized throughout his formative years by various awards, most notably by the Canadian All Star Jazz Award received at the age of sixteen. Private studies with many different teachers followed suit, as did several scholarships, in particular one bestowed by the Ontario Arts Council, granting him the opportunity to attend workshops at the University of Toronto. Later, Levon had the opportunity to study with world renowned musicians Pat Martino, Jim Hall, Steve Khan and Simon Shaheen. Years of study and practical experience behind him, Levon shares his knowledge conducting World / Jazz Improvisation clinics. He has been acknowledged for providing outstanding service to Jazz education by the International Association of Jazz Educators in addition to Canada's Governor. Levon has published music articles in Guitar Player and Canadian Musician magazines, to name a few.
Levon has toured throughout Canada, the Middle East, Brazil and the United States where he has played in clubs, concert halls and at international festivals, such as Peter Gabriel's WOMAD, MIDEM (Cannes), Chet Atkins Musicians Days Concerts (Nashville) and the Montreal Jazz Festival. He has performed with Mark Egan, Danny Gottleib and Muriel Anderson, along side Liona Boyd, and was featured in Pizza Express (London, England) Guitar Masters Series, which included Birelli Lagrene, Larry Coryell and Martin Taylor. In 2002 Levon toured throughout North America and Europe with Peter Murphy (former frontman of the band Bauhaus) featuring him on a multitude of stringed instruments. His career as a session guitarist has provided him with recording opportunities for a wide variety of musical situations. He has played on JUNO (Canadian Grammy) nominated projects, recorded with producer/composer Kenni Hairston (Vanessa Williams, Cyndi Lauper, Freddie Jackson, Cameo), and Jolly Mukherjee for singer/songwriter Hariharan from India.
Levon has also branched out into the film world, scoring and performing all instruments to the soundtrack of acclaimed Canadian filmmaker, Atom Egoyan's "Looking for Nothing". His guitar playing is featured on the soundtracks for films, commercials and other artist C.D.s.
Julian Mendes; Oval Emotion; After Hours; Kick-n' Jazz; Travels; Elite; Bill King; Hijaz For Guitar; Luciani; Roulli; Carlo Coppola; Lenka; Best of Zolis Audio; Mancuso; Best Of Beaches Jazz Festival; Temperance; Olyde Nester; As One; Toronto Tabla Ensemble; Maryem Tollar: Live; Latin Passion and Dance; Ear Book; One Heart, One Mind, One Groove; Mernie; Geordi Macdonald
Samba Squad; Armenian Music Awards
Atom Egoyan (Looking for Nothing)
Canadian Film Board (The Hockey Game)
Gail Singer (You Can't Beat A Woman)
Donald Quan (The Relic Hunter)
Brenda Longfellow (Shadowmaker)
CBC (Daughters of Afghanistan)
Nashville Chamber Orchestra - The Ark
Atlantic Jazz Society - The Wedding
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Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada L4C 9S3
tel (905) 773-0053 fax (905) 773-5713