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Donald Vega

Donald Vega was trained classically in piano in his native Nicaragua. He emigrated to the United States at age 14 and found a musical home with the Colburn School of Performing Arts (CSPA). He began his studies there in classical piano with Teresa de Jong Pombo and Dr. Louis Lepley. Vega began learning the language of jazz from mentor Billy Higgins at The World Stage and continued at CSPA with Jeffrey Lavner, then later with bassist John Clayton at the University of Southern California. He went on to graduate from Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School where he studied with piano great Kenny Barron. Vega currently performs internationally as the pianist for world renowned bassist Ron Carter’s Golden Striker Trio with whom he has recorded several albums. Mr. Vega is also a professor at The Juilliard School and Hofstra University and sits on the board of BackCountry Jazz, a non-profit organization which provides music education programs and performances to underprivileged youth. 

Vega’s debut album, Tomorrows, was released in 2008 to rave reviews. In his sophomore album, Spiritual Nature (Resonance Records, 2012), he was joined by the regal rhythm tandem of bassist Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash. Vega teamed up again with Lewis Nash on his third album, With Respect to Monty, (Resonance Records, 2015) along with Hassan Shakur, the great bassist and former Monty Alexander band member, and long time friend and grammy nominated artist, Anthony Wilson on guitar.  Donald recently finished recording his latest album, As I Travel, with Lewis Nash on drums and John Patitucci on bass and featuring Luisito Quintero on percussion. 




Original composition, “Wailing Jane”, selected for Jazz Times 2008 Education Issue 1st Place, Jazz Piano Competition Pensacola Jazz Festival, 2008 Runner Up, Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Jacksonville, FL 2007


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"...an exceptionally articulate pianist...Vega's single most distinctive characteristic is his romantic lyricism." - JazzTimes, May 2009 "Donald Vega plays with a formidable technique, a rich imagination, and a lot of heart.  For my money, a major talent of his generation." - Bennie Wallace, saxophonist, March 2009 “Tomorrows is a must hear disc for those who love the sound of the piano dancing to new melodies and enriching the music from standards we've come to know and love. Vega offers six new original scores displaying his talents on the keys playing with power, intensity and a touch of class...the group finishes with the light ballad of Butterfly Waltz, a piece the pianist writes for his wife, (it) is perhaps the crowning piece of an impressive and compelling session of contemporary light jazz making

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Primary Instrument



New York City

Willing to teach

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Clinic/Workshop Information

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

A Song of Hope

Whaling City Sound


Remembering Bob...

Shanti Records


You Can See: The Best...

Resonance Records


Blue Monday

RP Production


With Respect To Monty

Resonance Records


Spiritual Nature

Resonance Records



From: Spiritual Nature
By Donald Vega



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