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David Azarian Dies

David Azarian, an Armenian-born jazz pianist and composer, died Saturday when he was hit by a car while changing a tire by the roadside. He was 51.

Azarian was born in Yerevan, Armenia in 1952, the son of two teachers; his father taught music, his mother taught language. At age seven Azarian entered the Sayat Nova Music School to study piano and composition. It was also around that time that Azarian began listening to the Voice of America radio program and discovered jazz. In 1967 he enrolled at Professional Tchaikovsky School of Music and after graduating in 1970 moved on to the Yerevan Gomidas Conservatory. While studying at the conservatory, he founded a jazz ensemble and began working in jazz clubs. Once out of school he formed a jazz trio that toured the Soviet Union and Europe during the 1980s. In 1989 the trio visited the U.S. for what was planned as a 10-day tour, but Azarian decided to stay in the States. He married and settled in the Boston area.

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