Born: August 13, 1972
“The music will certainly leave the listener with a joyful and playful feeling; Peñas’ focus on making good heartfelt music is a breath of fresh air.” JazzTimes.
Barcelona-born guitarist, arranger, and composer Oscar Peñas was already a widely respected figure on the international jazz scene before settling in New York City a decade ago. Since then, he's genuinely blossomed, creating a singular body of work that weaves together elements of jazz, Spanish folk music, and the European classical tradition.
He often works with unorthodox instrumentation, he doesn't blend disparate influences so much as stitch them together with an internal emotional logic. Peñas established a vital new voice in New York with two critically hailed albums, most recently 2014's Music of Departures and Returns featuring Gil Goldstein, Paquito D'Rivera, and Esperanza Spalding. His latest project Almadraba, inspired by the ancient sustainable fishing practices in Andalusia, featured bass legend Ron Carter and premiered in 2018 at the BAM Next Wave Festival.
A major league talent with a capacious musical imagination, Peñas embodies the limitless promise of jazz's global reach.
South Arts Jazz Road 2022 grantee
Mid Atlantic USAI 2021 grantee
20th Annual USA Songwriting Competition, Jazz, Finalist 2015
11th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), Finalist 2015
14th Annual Independent Music Awards, Jazz Instrumental Song, Finalist 2015
19th Annual USA Songwriting Competition, Instrumental Jazz, Finalist 2014
ASCAP Plus Award, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012
Professional Music Achievement Award, Berklee College of Music, 1999
Printed feature articles: Guitar Player, Downbeat, Jazziz, JazzTimes, Smithsonian, All
About Jazz, ASCAP Audio Portraits, Chicago Hoy, El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico, La
Vanguardia, Avui, El Periódico de Cataluña.
Radio: WBGO, WPTZ-News Channel 5, WNYC-Soundcheck, The Phoenix-WNYU, Via
Lluire-Rac1, L’Home del Jazz-RNE4, Sonideros-RNE3, Radio Rebelde, Radio Marti,
TSFJazz, Radio France - Open Jazz - France Musique, Abu Dhabi Classic FM,
New York City
Willing to teach
Intermediate to advanced
Private Studio, Private Instructor, Brooklyn, NY, 2007- present
◦ Electric and classical guitar, jazz harmony and ear training
92Y School of the Arts, New York City, NY, Faculty, 2012- 2019
◦ Guitar teacher, group and individual lessons
Community Roots Charter School, Faculty, Brooklyn, NY, 2010- 2011
◦ After-school guitar, group guitar lessons
Brooklyn Music School, Faculty, Brooklyn, NY, 2009- 2012
◦ Taught guitar and jazz ensembles
Taller de Músics, Faculty, Barcelona, Spain, 2000-05
◦ Taught guitar, jazz ensembles, repertoire, and improvisation.