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Musician

Rodrigo Faina

Born:

Rodrigo Faina is a composer and bandleader whose music often transcends conventional and outdated genre distinctions. An alchemist, able to blend the techniques of new music and the traditions of jazz, tango and other popular genres into a lush, progressive and evocative sound-world distinctively of his own. The unpredictable and adventurous nature of his musical output places him in a particular position within the contemporary music landscape, and has earned him the respect and admiration of the international music scene’s key figures, but at the same time, brings him in conflict with both: the avant-garde and conceptualist classical composers. Rodrigo’s music draws inspiration from literature, social inequality and abstract images, and his aim is to develop and renew musical heritage and traditions without losing the connection with the emotional, expressive and spiritual aspects of music. Rodrigo’s music has been performed in prestigious venues such as the Kölner Philharmonie, WDR Funkhaus Köln, De Doelen and Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ. He has collaborated with renowned ensembles, soloists and conductors from Europe and the United States, such as Asko|Schönberg Ensemble, DoelenEnsemble, Metropole Orchestra, Zapp4, Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, David Kweksilber Big Band, Bulgaria National Radio Symphony, Platypus Ensemble, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Vince Mendoza, Etienne Siebens, Bas Wiegers and Claron McFadden among others. Rodrigo studied musical composition with Paul van Brugge and Klaas de Vries at the Rotterdam Conservatory, where he obtained his Bachelor and Master’s degrees with honours

Musician

Migiwa Miyajima

Born:

Hailing from Japan, composer, producer, pianist, and bandleader of the 17-piece Miggy Augmented Orchestra, Migiwa “Miggy” Miyajima creates large-scale works manifesting her distinct life experiences. Birdland Jazz Club says, “Miyajima’s music reflects her journey as a musician and humanitarian.” Formerly editor-in-chief of a magazine in Japan, Miyajima trusted the power of music and became a full-time musician at the age of 30. In four years, the Grammy-winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra found her and brought her two Grammy nominations as its associate producer for “Forever Lasting- Live in Tokyo” and “Over Time: Music of Bob Brookmeyer.” After surviving the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, Miyajima received a Japanese government grant and a Japan-U.S

Musician

Sandy Eldred

Born:

Sandy Eldred is an internationally acclaimed bassist, recording artist, composer, and music educator currently living in Philadelphia, PA. Eldred is known for his inventiveness and command across music genres. He is represented by Ukrainian record label, LabelWhoAble. Eldred is co-founder of U.S.E. Trio, Multi Mansions, and Crosscurrents Ensemble. He is a member of the Bogdan Gumenyuk Quartet, the Michael Hudson-Casanova Sextet, and leader of the Sandy Eldred Trio. Since permanently joining Norman David and the Eleventet at age 20, Eldred has become one of Philadelphias most in demand bassists for large ensemble

Musician

Emiliano Sampaio

Born:

The Guitarist, trombonist, conductor, arranger and composer, born in São Paulo (Brazil) in 1984, studied music firstly at the University of Campinas and develops his Doctoral Research nowadays with focus on the use of improvisation for large Jazz Symphonic Orchestra at the University of Music and Performing Art of Graz. Ways of interaction between people has become a central question of his work, developing ways of using music to contribute for more fulfilling life as musician.

Emiliano released eleven albums as bandleader with his trio, his nonet and his own big band and his music was played in important Brazilian and European jazz clubs and festivals

Musician

Awakening Orchestra

Although it’s right there in the name, it’s not entirely clear whether composer/leader Kyle Saulnier’s Awakening Orchestra is in fact an orchestra, a big band or something entirely and wildly different. Encompassing broad swaths of musical style in both original and recontextualized and re-imagined compositions, the Awakening Orchestra delves deep into traditions from classical to jazz to indie rock on their debut album, volume I: this is not the answer. Interspersing original work - like the intricate, four-part, title-track symphony - with often radical interpretations of work by Samuel Barber, Radiohead, Johannes Brahms and Low, volume I: this is not the answer crafts a powerful mix of written and improvised material

Musician

Alec Castro

Born:

Alec Castro is a Mexican pianist, composer and arranger established in the city of New York since 2010. He is an active member of the music scene in the New York area. He has performed in important venues such as Dizzy's Coca Cola Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center atrium, Minton's, Aaron Davis Hall, Shea Center for the Performing Arts​, Shapeshifter Lab, Tutuma Social Club, Bonafide Club, Trumpets Jazz Club, among others. Moreover, he has participated as guest conductor and arranger for the jazz orchestras One More Once Big Band, The WP Jazz Orchestra featuring Joe Lovano, Ventspils Jazz Orchestra and CCNY Large Ensemble

Musician

Ilaria Capalbo

Born:

A MMus Jazz Performance graduate from Conservatorio di Salerno G. Martucci and Kungliga Musikhögskolan i Stockholm, Ilaria Capalbo (b. 1984) is an Italian double bassist, cellist and composer. She works as a performer and improviser in a variety of media and her music can be placed at the intersection between the jazz and classical worlds. Ilaria is best known for her work as a composer and instrumentalist with contemporary, co-lead jazz trio KÓSMOS and chamber-music-inspired duo Invisible Atlas. Her strong presence as part of the rhythm section and expansive, nuanced musicality as a soloist make her a sought-after session woman: she is a member of Blue Note/Verve pianist Chihiro Yamanaka’s European Trio and has so far shared the stage with Norma Winstone, Stefano di Battista, Fredrik Lundin, Cassie Kinoshi, Peter Danemo, Giuseppe Bassi and many others

Musician

Meg Okura

Born:

The New York Times recently described jazz composer and violinist Meg Okura’s music as "grandiloquent beauty that transitions easily from grooves to big cascades to buoyant swing." No. 6 Jazz Violinist/Violist in the International Critics' Poll, Meg Okura blends East and West in modern jazz. Okura dares to combine erhu (Chinese violin) with the harp, bass clarinet, flutes and the soprano saxophone in her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, a one-of-a-kind jazz group based in Harlem. The ensemble has released four albums- Meg Okura’s Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble (2006), Naima (2010), and Music of Ryuichi Sakamoto (2013), and the Ima Ima (feat

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Article: Interview

Large Ensembles: Is There a Place in This Large Music World?

Read "Large Ensembles: Is There a Place in This Large Music World?" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


The big band in jazz has a long and glorious history. It was a prevalent form in jazz music in the '20s and '30s, comprising a substantial part of America's popular music heard on radio, spun on gramophones and record players, and enjoyed in dance halls. It gave rise to iconic band leaders like Fletcher Henderson, ...


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