Jazz piano player Tigran Hamasyan will perform two solo concerts at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15 at The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica.

This will be Armenia native Hamasyan’s first show in a long tour to support his album A Fable, set for release in February.

“When I was 13, I began to understand the rich culture of Armenia,” says Hamasyan. “I thought, ‘it’s in my blood.’ I grew up with this incredible music without realizing it. Slowly I began to listen more to the folk music, and it shocked me how much it had been completely ignored.

“The more tunes I learned -listening to recordings from the Armenian Folk Radio channel -the more I saw the rich potential for merging those with improvised music. That started me on a lifetime journey.”

While he studied classical music at an Armenian high school geared toward music studies, Hamasyan continued to grow on his own as a jazz pianist. He performed at the First International Jazz Festival in Yerevan in 1998, which opened up other performance opportunities, and he returned to the festival for its second edition in 2000, where he met musicians Chick Corea, Avishai Cohen, Jeff Ballard and others.

He was also booked to play several European festivals where he met such top-notch jazz stars as Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Joe Zawinul, Danilo Perez and John Patitucci, among others. In 2002, Hamasyan began to win a series of piano competitions, and in 2006, he won the top prize at the Thelonious Monk Jazz Piano Competition and second place in the Martial Solal International Jazz Competition in Paris.

At 16, his parents moved to Los Angeles, where he later studied at USC for two years.

In 2008 he moved to New York, where he is now based. Despite touring extensively, he says he finds time to visit his family who live in Venice.

Tickets to the Broad Stage performance are $22 and are available at: http://thebroadstage.com/Tigran.

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