Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Zerang, Michael

Zerang, Michael, percussionist/composer; b. Chicago, IL, 16 November 1958. He is a first generation American of Assyrian decent. His father was born in the Northwest Iranian town of Urmia and his mother was born in Baghdad, Iraq. He attended Wright College Chicago for Liberal Arts and Music courses, 1977-1978. He attended Roosevelt University, Chicago Music College, for an advanced course of study in music theory, composition and performance skills, 1978-1982. He had private study and attended workshops from 1979-1986.

He studied percussion skill with Edward Poremba, Adwar Hanna, and Edward Zerang, music composition with Robert Lombardo, Don Malone, Jon Gibson, Peter Van Riper, and Karl Berger and movement training with Simone Forti, Nancy Topf, David Appel, Eiko and Koma, Alan Ptashek, and Ping Chong.

He has been a professional musician, composer, and producer since 1976, focusing extensively on improvised music, free jazz, contemporary composition, and international musical forms. He has collaborated extensively with contemporary theater, dance, and other multidisciplinary forms and has received three Joseph Jefferson Awards for Original Music Composition in Theater, in 1996, 1998, and 2000. He has over forty titles in his discography and has toured nationally and internationally since 1981 with and ever-widening pool of collaborators. He was the artistic director of the Link's Hall Performance Series from 1985-1989 where he produced over 300 concerts of jazz, traditional ethnic folk music, electronic music, and other forms of forward thinking music. He continued to produce concerts at Cafe Urbus Orbis from 1994-1996, and since 2001, at his own space, The Candlestick Maker in Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood. He has taught as a guest artist at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in performance technique, sound design, and sound/music as it relates to puppetry; rhythmic analysis for dancers at The Dance Center of Columbia College, Northwestern University, and Moming Dance and Arts Center; courses in Composer - Choreographer Collaborations at Northwestern University; music to children at The Jane Adams Hull House. He has held workshops in improvisational music and percussion technique and teaches private lessons in rhythmic analysis, music composition, and percussion technique.

He has also worked as an actor since 1980 in theater and in a film entitled Our Father, directed by Bryn Magnus.

He has worked with Axel Dorner / Fred Lonberg-Holm / Michael Zerang (1998-present), Jumper Cables (1998-present), Terminal 4 (1998-present), Fred Lonberg-Holm / Sten Sandell / Michael Zerang Trio (1997-present), Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet (1997-present), In Zenith (1997-present), Jaap Blonk / Fred Lonberg-Holm / Michael Zerang Trio (1997-present), Raymond Strid / Michael Zerang Percussion Duo (1996-present), Mats Gustafsson / Sten Sandell / Michael Zerang Trio (1996-present), Jaap Blonk / Mats Gustafsson / Michael Zerang Trio (1996-present), Lonberg-Holm / Zerang Duo (1996-present), Jim Baker / Michael Zerang Duo (1995-present), Trio Troppo (1995-present), Mats Gustafsson / Michael Zerang Duo (1994-present), Liof Munimula (1982-Present), Broken Wire (1996-1998), Sputter Ensemble (1996-1997), Quirt Quintet (1995-1997), Neutrino Trio (1995-1996), The Vandermark Quartet [review] (1991-1995), Sam Pappas New Instrument Ensemble (Tumbling Strains) (1981-1987), Project Clamdance (1981-1987), Musica Menta (1981-1986), and The Neutrino Orchestra (1977-1979)

Zerang currently performs with many innovative musicians including AACM co-founder Fred Anderson, Mats Gustafsson, Raymond Strid, Sten Sandell, Don Meckley, Jaap Blonk, Daniel Scanlan, Peter Brotzmann, Kent Kessler, Barre Phillips, Jim Baker, Hamid Drake, Ken Vandermark, Luc Hautkamp, and Fred Lonberg-Holm.

Zerang has been commissioned to write over 100 musical / sound compositions in collaboration with choreographers, theater companies, performance artists, new music ensembles, and film & video makers. In 1996 and 1998 Zerang received a Joseph Jefferson Citation for original music composition for his work on Redmoon Theater's mask and puppet version of Frankenstein and The Ballad Of Frankie And Johnny that both premiered at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago.

Zerang has taught as a guest artist at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in performance technique and sound design as related to puppetry; rhythmic analysis for dancers at The Dance Center of Columbia College and Northwestern University, courses in Composer - Choreographer Collaborations at Northwestern University, and music to children at The Jane Adams Hull House. He has held workshops in improvisational music and extended percussion techniques. He teaches private lessons in rhythmic analysis, music composition, and percussion technique.

Zerang founded the Link's Hall Performance Series in November 1985 and functioned as artistic director until 1989. Link's Hall continues to present experimental music, modern dance, traditional ethnic folk music, poetry and fiction readings, and performance art events. He also curated events at Club Lower Link's, a venue for experimental arts in Chicago from 1987-1989. Zerang continues to present experimental music programs at various venues in Chicago. He is the past Board president for the Experimental Sound Studio of Chicago, and current Board member of Link's Hall Inc., The Curious Theater Branch, and The Children's School of Evanston.

Recordings:
Michael Zerang / RedmoonTheater: Moby-Dick (1995); Jaap Blonk /Mats Gustafsson / Michael Zerang: Imp-Rovi-Sors (1996); Michael Zerang / Redmoon Theater: Frankenstein (1996); Hamid Drake / Michael Zerang: Ask The Sun (1996); Michael Zerang / Redmoon Theater: Ballad of Frankie & Johnny (1997); Michael Zerang / Fred Lonberg-Holm: Sonance Quarry (1997); Wright / Marsh / Zerang / Berndt: That Nothing is Known (1998); Michael Zerang / Jim Baker: Earth Sessions Vol. 1 & 2 (1998); Jaap Blonk /Fred Lonberg-Holm / Michael Zerang: First Meetings (1998); Michael Zerang / Fred Lonberg-Holm: 35 Grapes (19 shown) (1998); Raymond Strid / Michael Zerang: Scratch Match (2000); Axel Dorner / Fred Lonberg-Holm / Michael Zerang: Claque (2000); Sten Sandell / Fred Lonberg-Holm / Michael Zerang: Disappeared (2001); Jeb Bishop / Tony Bevan / John Edwards / Michael Zerang: NHAM (2002); Jeff Parker, Bernard Santacruz, Michael Zerang: VEGA (2002); Kyle Bruckman / Scott Rosenberg / Michael Zerang: Six Synaptics (2002); Jeff Parker, Kevinn Drumm, Michael Zerang: Out Trios Volume 2 (2003); John Butcher, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Michael Zerang: Tincture (2003)

As sideperson:
Katherine Hughes: Log-a-Rhythms (1982); Pier Party: The Island (1985); Musica Menta: Musica Menta (1986); Eugene Chadbourne: What Is Truth? (1988); Liof Munimula: The Jonah Syndrome (1989); Sparrow: Desert Rat (1990); Lobe Hatch: Patience is a Virtue (1991); Liof Munimula: Too Fried to Wing It (1992); Eric Leonardson: Urban Archeology (1993); Flippomusic: Tendrils of Light (1993); Tatsu Aoki: Kioto (1994); The Vandermark Quartet: Big Head Eddie (1994), Eightball (1994), Here Comes Mr. Weasel (1995), Solid Action (1995); Four Chicago Improvising Trios: Standards (1995); Mats Gustafsson: Parrot Fish Eye (1995); Linda Tate: We Belong Together (1996); In Zenith: Building a Better Future (1997); Broken Wire: Broken Wire (1997), Occurrence / Dr. is Cold (1997); FHMZ Quartet: Trios & Quartets (1998); Peter Brs tzmann Octet / Tentet: Chicago Octet / Tentet (1998); Don Malone: Musing 4.0 (1999); John Butcher: Music on Seven Occasions (1999); Sam Ghansah: Jah Has A Reason (1999); Scott Fields Ensemble: denouement (1999); Bobby Conn: Llovessonngs (1999); Fred Lonberg-Holm: Site Specific: duets for guitar and cello (1999); Luc Houtkamp: Luc Houtkamp in Chicago (2000); Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet: Stonewater (2000); Kyle Bruckman: and (2002); Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet: Short Visit to Nowhere (2002), Broken English (2002); Kent Kessler Solo Contrabass: Bull Fiddle (2002);
Awards:
In 1995 and 1998 Zerang received a grant from The Chicago Artists International Program and traveled to Stockholm to perform and record with some of Sweden's most innovative musicians and, in 98 to Switzerland, Germany and Holland with cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm.  He has received grants from The Illinois Arts Council, The Chicago Office of Fine Arts, Arts Midwest, and The Regional Artist Project Grant.
Illinos Arts Council - Special Assistace Grant 2003
(Original Music Composition - ECSTATIC DISSENT) Illinos Arts Council - Artist Fellowship 2002
(Original Music Composition) Chicago Depatment of Cultural Affairs 2002
CAAP Grant Joseph Jefferson Citation (Hunchback) 2000
(Original Music Composition) Chicago Artists International Project (European Tour) 1998
(w/ Fred Lonberg-Holm) Joseph Jefferson Citation (The Ballad of Frankie & Johnny) 1998
(Original Music Composition) Joseph Jefferson Citation (Frankenstein) 1996
(Original Music Composition) Chicago Artists International Project (Sweden Tour)
1995
Regional Artist Project - NEA / Randolph St. Gallery 1993
Illinois Arts Council - Technical Assistance 1993
Ragdale Artist Colony - Residency 1992 (2 weeks)
Illinois Arts Council - Technical Assistance 1990
Chicago Office of Fine Arts - CAAP Grant 1989

Contact information:
Contact Michael Zerang at drum777@aol.com
http://www.geocities.com/~mzerang/
http://www.candlestickmaker.org/

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