Mark Izu’s compositions are characterized by his seamless integration of jazz with other music traditions, his mastery of cross-cultural instrumentation, and his ability to compose in many musical disciplines. As the Artistic Director of the Asian American Jazz Festival for 18 years, Izu has gained national and international attention for developing a new musical genre —Asian American Jazz— and has performed with jazz artists such as James Newton, Steve Lacy, Zakir Hussain, George Lewis, Cecil Taylor, Anthony Brown, Jon Jang, and Jin Hi Kim. Izu plays acoustic bass as well as several traditional Asian instruments such as the sheng (Chinese multi-reed instrument) and sho (Japanese multi-reed instrument).
Izu has composed scores for film, live music concerts and theater. His film scores include Steven Okazaki’s Academy Award-winning Days of Waiting; Wayne Wang’s Dim Sum Take Out; KTEH’s Emmy-winning documentary, Return to the Valley and James Kulp’s PBS documentary, Westward to China.
Izu has performed his compositions throughout the United States, Canada, Asia and Europe including Hong Kong Cultural Center, Esplanade Theatres on the Bay (Singapore), Adelaide Art Festival (Australia). the Montreaux Festival (Switzerland), Berlin Total Music Festival, Moers New Music Festival (Germany), Edmonton Jazz Festival in Canada and the San Jose, San Francisco, San Diego and Berkeley Jazz Festivals in the United States.