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Western Michigan University's Keith Hall talks about jazz greats and talks with current practitioners of the art.0000017c-60f7-de77-ad7e-f3f73a350002

Jazz Currents: Nicholas Olynciw, 2018 Winner Of The Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition

Katherine Lane

Jazz pianist and composer Nicholas Olynciw (OH-lin-shoo) recently completed his master's degree in jazz performance at Western Michigan University, where he studied with Matthew FriesJazz Currents host Keith Hall visits with Olynciw in the Takeda studio at WMUK, where they talked about his Long Island, Texas, and Michigan connections, and Olynciw plays several new solo works:  "New Blues," "Associated," "Thermos," "Re-Pete," and "Dream Dancing."

Credit Keith Hall
Nicholas Olynciw in the Takeda studio at WMUK.

Growing up on Long Island, New York, Olynciw was trained classically, but loved to play and learn jazz with his older brother, bassist Pete Olynciw, and to listen to recordings of Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell and others. He chose the University of North Texas, the first college ever to offer a jazz degree (in 1947), for his undergraduate studies. While studying at Western Michigan University, Olynciw was one of a small number of players invited to participate in JAS Academy, in Aspen Colorado, where he studied with jazz great Christian McBride. In the spring of 2018, Olynciw went to Florida to compete in the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition, where he won the top prize.

Most recently, Olynciw earned a Student Award for Best Jazz Soloist at the Graduate Level from Downbeatmagazine. Between May and October, 2019, Olynciw will be resident pianist at the Iroquois Hotel on Mackinac Island.

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Cara Lieurance is the local host of NPR's All Things Considered on 1021 WMUK and covers local arts & culture on Let's Hear It on 89.9 Classical WMUK weekday mornings at 10 - 11 am.
As Chief Engineer for WMUK, Martin Klemm is kept busy by tending to a variety of issues - from computers to tower lights - he will never run out of things to fix. Before coming to WMUK in 2003, Martin worked in Los Angeles making records with some outstanding producers, but preferred to be close to his family here in west Michigan. He enjoys keeping a busy schedule balancing WMUK, loving on his friends' doggos, and remodeling his home in the Edison neighborhood (which never seems to end)
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