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Michael Zerang

Michael Zerang was born in Chicago, Illinois, 1958, and is a first-generation American of Assyrian decent. He am a professional musician, composer, producer, and educator since 1976, focusing extensively on improvised music, free jazz, contemporary composition, puppet theater, experimental theater, and international musical forms.

As an ensemble member, he has worked in a concentrated fashion with several small and large groups over the years, contributing as a composer and performer, including Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, Liof Munimula, Survival Unit III, Brötzmann/McPhee/Kessler/Zerang Quartet, Resonance Ensemble, Friction Brothers, Johannes Bauer Band, and The Winter Solstice Concerts with Hamid Drake – an annual event in Chicago since 1990.

As an instrumentalist and composer, he has over one hundreds titles in his discography, and have toured and performed nationally and internationally to 35 countries since 1981. He continues to work with and ever-widening pool of collaborators. He have also collaborated extensively with contemporary theater, dance, and other multidisciplinary forms.

He has received a Joseph Jefferson Award for Original Music for Theater in 1996 for Frankenstein, 1998 for The Ballad of Frankie and Johnny, and 2000 for Hunchback – all in collaboration with Chicago’s REDMOON THEATER.

As an arts activist, he has sat on the Board of Directors of several Chicago- based arts organizations including Links Hall, Experimental Sound Studio, Curious Theater Branch, and The Children’s School, as well as in an advisory capacity for The Elastic Arts Foundation.

He founded, and was the artistic director of the Link's Hall Performance Series in Chicago from 1985 -1989 where I produced over 300 concerts of jazz, traditional ethnic folk music, electronic music, and other forms of forward thinking music. He was a Board Member of Links Hall from 1989 - 2013. During this time, Links Hall moved from a small, artist-run volunteer organization, to a vital and long-standing laboratory for experimentation in the performing arts. Links Hall encourages artistic innovation and public engagement by maintaining a facility and providing flexible programming for the research, development and presentation of new work in the performing arts.

He continued to produce concerts at Cafe Urbus Orbis from 1994-1996, and at my own space, The Candlestick Maker in Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood, from 2001 - 2005. All of these efforts at grass-roots activism yielded expanding opportunities for contemporary local, national and international artists in Chicago, and have added to the vibrant underground culture of the city. All of the concerts he produced at Links Hall and at Candlestick Maker have been documented on audio-tape and are available for scholars, researchers, and the public at the Creative Audio Archive at the Experimental Sound Studios in Chicago.


Joseph Jefferson Award for Original Music for Theater in 1996 for Frankenstein, 1998 for The Ballad of Frankie and Johnny, and 2000 for Hunchback – all in collaboration with Chicago’s REDMOON THEATER.


Michael Zerang has a rich history of collaboration with these wonderful, Chicago-based musicians, in some cases dating back over 30 years. Their heady rhythms buttress and color the all-out assault of brass rupturing from Windy City heavies Rempis, Williams and Berman. Their first performance is a great indication, expect deep acid grooves in a potent decoction of World vernaculars. — Uncanned Music Chicaco

The intricate counter-point of massed horns versus bass on Bright Lights And Saucy Tights brings to mind J.S. Bach, while the syncopated cadences and earthy, low-end melody of Chicago Rub Down contain the potential for some serious funk. But this is still music for improvisers, and it won’t be complete until the last time these musicians play it. — Bill Meyer, Chicago Music

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Aerophonic Records


Escape from Dark...

Pink Palace


For New Zealand

NotTwo Records


Dream Disobedience

Not Two Records


3 Nights In Oslo

Catalytic Sound


Redmoon Theater's The...

Creative Sources


Welcome to the Red Island

From: For New Zealand
By Michael Zerang


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