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Russian Jazz Musicians on Open World Program to Visit Louisville for Jazz Week Performance
February 13, 2006

For Immediate Release

Washington, DC - Five Russian jazz musicians will visit Louisville, KY from February 16 through March 2 as artists in residence at the University of Louisville School of Music during its annual Jazz Week. The musicians' two-weeklong visit to Louisville is sponsored by the Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress through partnership and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Russian jazz quintet will perform during Jazz Week at 8:00 pm, Wednesday, February 22nd at the School of Music's Comstock Hall. During their residency at the School of Music, the Russian musicians will also participate in music clinics and master classes, play during improvisational jam sessions, collaborate with jazz faculty and students, and partake in a variety of local cultural activities.

The University of Louisville's annual Jazz Week is a celebration of jazz music featuring extended residencies by leading artists as well as concerts, workshops, and clinics for participating musicians. The event has featured some of the biggest names in the jazz world, including the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Wynton Marsalis, and the McCoy Tyner Trio.

The Open World jazz ensemble includes guitarist Maksim Belitskiy, drummer Andrey Ivanov, harmonica player Maksim Nekrasov, bassist Robert Pilyakalnis, and pianist and singer Natalya Smirnova. All of the musicians are members of the St. Petersburg Jazz Philharmonic except for Ms. Smirnova, who hails from Moscow.

The jazz group's visit is part of a unique exchange program focusing on cultural leaders from Russia. This February, Open World is also organizing visits for another jazz

group at the University of Idaho; Tuvan throat-singers in Middletown, CT, Hanover, NH and New York City; and textile artisans in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Open World's Cultural Leaders Program aims to forge better understanding between the United States and Russia by enabling emerging Russian leaders in the arts to experience U.S. cultural and community life and to collaborate with their American counterparts. Support for the cultural program is provided through partnership and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Open World Leadership Center funds the administrative portion of the program. The Open World Program is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress. Over 10,000 Open World participants have been hosted in all 50 U.S. states since the program's inception in 1999.

For more information or to arrange interviews with the jazz musicians, please contact Courtney Duke, The PEN Company, at 202-466-6210. For more background on Open World, please visit