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Internationally Acclaimed Trombonist And Composer Kalia Vandever Joins New England Conservatory’s Jazz Studies Faculty

Internationally Acclaimed Trombonist And Composer Kalia Vandever Joins New England Conservatory’s Jazz Studies Faculty

Courtesy Laura Bibbs


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Kalia Vandever sculpts her trombone’s golden tones into dazzling compositions.
—Allison Hussey, Pitchfork
New England Conservatory’s Jazz Studies Department has appointed Grammy Award-winning trombonist and composer Kalia Vandever to its faculty beginning in the fall of 2024. Hailed as one of the prominent new voices in jazz trombone, Vandever leans into the challenges of her instrument and allows patience and melody to guide her process. The result is a distinctive approach defined by Vandever’s sonorous tone and lyrical improvisational voice.

“I’m incredibly excited to work with the imaginative students in the jazz department at NEC and cultivate an open and generative space to learn, improvise, and compose,” says Vandever.

Jazz Studies department co-chairs Ken Schaphorst and Anna Webber say, “Kalia is one of the most interesting voices on trombone of her generation, with expertise in an incredible range of musical styles, and we are very excited to welcome her to our faculty!”

Vandever joins a department with some 30 of jazz’s leading educators and performers, including Jason Moran, Dave Holland, Nasheet Waits, Donny McCaslin, Billy Hart, Ethan Iverson, Dominique Eade, Ran Blake, Anthony Coleman, Joe Morris, and more.

About Kalia Vandever

In her compositional practice, Vandever draws from her love of songs and improvisation, creating a landscape of sounds that resonate in the body and hold the listener. Her 2019 debut ensemble album In Bloom has been described as “the rise of an exciting voice for the music" (Seton Hawkins, Hot House Jazz Magazine). Her sophomore album Regrowth, released in May of 2022 on New Amsterdam Records, “confirms her strengths as a composer and bandleader with a distinctly contemporary point of view." (Nate Chinen, WBGO Jazz). Vandever’s debut solo album, We Fell In Turn,featuring her works for trombone, voice, and electronics was released on AKP Records in March of 2023.

In addition to her work as a bandleader, Vandever is active in the collective tilt, a Brooklyn-based group bringing together the voices of performer-composers Isabel Crespo Pardo (voice), Vandever (trombone/voice), and Carmen Q Rothwell (acoustic bass/voice).

Vandever received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from the Juilliard School in 2017. She has toured and performed internationally with her quartet, performing at the Winter Jazz Festival, BRIC Jazz Festival, and other festivals. She is also known for her work as a side-woman, performing with jazz artists including Joel Ross, Immanuel Wilkins, and Fay Victor, to name a few. She has also performed with popular artists, including Harry Styles, Lizzo, Japanese Breakfast, Moses Sumney, Jennifer Hudson, and Demi Lovato. Vandever has twice appeared on Saturday Night Live, as well as Samantha Bee's Full Frontal. She is an awardee of the 2022 Next Jazz Legacy, a program founded by New Music USA and the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. Vandever was also selected to curate the 2022 Music Series for The Arts Center at Duck Creek in East Hampton.

Along with her performance work, Vandever has been commissioned to write works for groups and individuals, including Tesla Quartet, The Westerlies, Katherine Kyu Hyeon Lim, and Hats & Heels Duo. Her experience as an educator includes leading masterclasses at universities including California Institute of the Arts, University of Illinois, Chicago, Cal State Northridge, Saddleback College, University of Maine Farmington, and University of Missouri, and clinics for organizations including CWU Jenn, Women of Jazz and Creative Music, Women in Jazz Organization, and Live From Our Living Rooms. Vandever endorses Conn Selmer and Bach instruments as well as Denis Wick London.

About New England Conservatory (NEC)

Founded by Eben Tourjée in Boston, Massachusetts in 1867, the New England Conservatory (NEC) represents a new model of music school that combines the best of European tradition with American innovation. The school stands at the center of Boston’s rich cultural history and musical life, presenting concerts at the renowned Jordan Hall. Propelled by profound artistry, bold creativity, and deep compassion, NEC seeks to amplify musicians’ impact on advancing our shared humanity and empowers students to meet today’s changing world head-on, equipped with the tools and confidence to forge multidimensional lives of artistic depth and relevance.

As an independent, not-for-profit institution that educates and trains musicians of all ages from around the world, NEC is recognized internationally as a leader among music schools. It cultivates a diverse, dynamic community, providing music students of more than 40 countries with performance opportunities and high-caliber training from 225 internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars. NEC pushes the boundaries of music-making and teaching through college-level training in classical, jazz and contemporary musical arts. Through unique interdisciplinary programs such as Entrepreneurial Musicianship and Community Performances & Partnerships, it empowers students to create their own musical opportunities. As part of NEC’s mission to make lifelong music education available to everyone, NEC’s Expanded Education delivers training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students and adults.

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