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Dan Wilensky


Dan Wilensky was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and moved to Berkeley, California the following year. Music was in the air at the Wilensky house: every family member played at least one instrument, and family jam sessions were frequent. He began piano lessons at age 8, and saxophone at 9 after he attended a Duke Ellington Orchestra concert. Wilensky flourished in the superb Berkeley public school music program, and studied saxophone privately with BHS grad Steve Elson, and his teacher, Hal Stein, and classical piano with Julian White. As a teenager, he street played, performed with schoolmates Benny Green, Craig Handy, Paul Hanson and Steve Bernstein, gigged with local bands, won top honors in various competitions, performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival three times, and was a guest soloist with the Woody Herman Orchestra. When he was 17, Wilensky studied for a year with jazz legend Joe Henderson, and received a scholarship to the Eastman School of Music.


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