Born in Kiev in the former USSR, Igor ‘Iggy’ Kurtzman was raised near Tel Aviv, Israel, and later in Toronto, Canada. He is the youngest member of the band, having joined at age 16 in 2002. His first gig with the band – prior to actually joining – was playing the sax solo from Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’ on a keyboard.
Iggy’s musical education consists of private piano, music theory and harmony lessons from age 9 until age 15, and then jazz piano lessons.
“My dad played guitar in a band for many years,” he remembers. “He would play The Beatles and a lot of Eastern European folk music. So there was always some kind of music in the house. I had a well-rounded musical upbringing.”
While a fan of many forms of music, Iggy was a late bloomer in his appreciation for progressive rock.
“I got into prog-rock after I joined the band,” he says, “after getting exposed to it. Having studied classical and jazz piano, it was a natural step forward to progressive rock.”
As the only Millenial among a group of Gen Xers, Iggy is arguably the most digital in his approach to music. He employs virtual synthesizer software to channel an endless amount of keyboard voices and customizes each to his specific intentions.
If you listen closely, Iggy’s maturation from teenager to adult can be heard in Half Past Four’s discography.
“If you listen to the first album, it’s very eclectic,” he points out. “And a lot of the music I was listening to at the time influenced much of the music I was writing. Right now, though, what I’m creating isn’t really related to something specific I’m listening to at the moment.”
Iggy counts among his musical influences Chick Corea, Oscar Peterson and Keith Emerson.
“Oscar Peterson is one of my first jazz gods,” he says. “I was lucky enough to see him live before he passed.”