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George Mgrdichian was American jazz's premier proponent of the , the pear-shaped lute most common in Middle Eastern folk music. Born and raised in New York City, Mgrdichian was a largely self-taught musician who first took up the clarinet, joining a traditional Armenian band while in his teens. When the group's oud player was drafted into military service, Mgrdichian was forced to learn the instrument in a matter of days. He nevertheless studied clarinet at the Juilliard School of Music… read more

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