Last Dance is a multi-disciplinary work created by Mark Izu. "Last Dance happened over time. Maybe a seed for the project was planted as I worked at the Japanese Senior Center in the '70s. Or when as a college student, I interviewed the only Nisei musician I knew, George Yoshida. Later, in 1988, he and I started a swing band of nisei and sansei musicians, the J-Town Jazz Ensemble. The project idea took shape when in 1995, I collaborated with poet Janice Mirikitani at a Day of Remembrance event. It seems only natural to bring artists and performers Brenda Wong Aoki, Anthony Brown and San Jose Taiko, whom I've worked with for much of my musical career, all together on this project. My parents, like many others, did not speak about their internment. I learned about it outside of my home. Some stories, despite the pain of the memory and telling, leap out and are too important to be forgotten. Through music and personal story, I hope that the lessons learned from this critical segment of history will be remembered, so that we can recognize and prevent prejudice and intolerance to ensure a just future for all in our global community." MARK IZU's (Composer, Bass, Sho & Sheng) award-winning musical compositions are an amalgam of ancient Asian traditions fired in smooth jazz. A pioneer in this genre, Izu is known for his seamless mastery of cross-cultural instrumentation and incredible agility in many disciplines. Izu is a founding member of the Asian American Jazz Orchestra, whose recording received a Grammy nomination in 2000. In 2004, he scored the Emmy award-winning documentary Return to the Valley. In 2002, he completed the score for Kuan-yin: Our Lady of Compassion by Brenda Wong Aoki and featuring his teacher and mentor, Gagaku Master Togi Suenobu. The work was performed at the Esplanade in Singapore in 2005. Izu scored Brenda Wong Aoki's Mermaid (1997) for full symphony, commissioned and conducted by Maestro Kent Nagano. Izu also composed Last Dance (1998), a multimedia jazz and Taiko commemoration of Japanese American Internment during World War II, commissioned by the Congressional Civil Liberties Public Education Fund; and SunCycles (2000) performed by Circle of Fire, featuring master musicians Togi Suenobu (Gagaku) and Zakir Hussain. Izu's film scores include Steven Okazaki's Academy Award-winning Days of Waiting and Wayne Wang's Dim Sum Take Out. His theater scores include Lawrence Yep's Dragon Wings (performed at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and Sundance Festival) and Brenda Wong Aoki's The Queen's Garden (Dramalogue Award for Best Original Music & INDIE Award for Best CD). His new film score of Sessue Hayakawa's silent masterpiece Dragon Painter will be released this year on DVD. A founding faculty member of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University, Izu continues to teach & perform internationally.