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Oud Man Out

August 28, 1994

John Bilezikjian is an undiscovered musical treasure ("Musician, Play Thyself," Palm Latitudes, by Joseph Hanania). Not only does he play more than 40 instruments, he is the world's foremost virtuoso on the oud. Everyone from Zubin Mehta to the Grand Ole Oprey has been astonished at what this man can do with this instrument, the granddaddy of the guitar and therefore the sire to almost the entire contemporary music industry.

I have had the good fortune to know Bilezikjian since 1970. I first saw him at a party, sitting on the floor playing "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window" on the oud, employing some of the most outrageous contrapuntal rhythms I had ever heard. We became instant friends.

I have seen John play, write, direct, conduct, teach, invent and do everything possible within the spectrum of music, all with a profound genius and deep love for his craft. Yet in spite of generally wide "insider" recognition, public exposure and acceptance have somehow eluded him.

MIKHAEL KOLLANDER

Agoura

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