Donald Vega

Donald Vega’s piano playing and composing skills, as well as his arranging and composing make him an exciting young jazz artist. His music is said to reflect Oscar Peterson’s versatility, and Bill Evans’ elegant lyrics. Donald was raised in a musical family. He began learning to play the piano at three years old. At six years of age, he began formal training with his uncle and grandfather, both musicians from Nicaragua. Vega, who was 14 years old, immigrated to the United States without knowing a word English because of the civil war. He continued to have health issues from a congenital condition that threatened his musical future and his hearing. Vega, who was poor and driven by his love of music, won the Los Angeles Spotlight Awards competition within a year. He won the attention of Henry Mancini, the jazz critic Leonard Feather, and made friends with a benefactor. David Abel, Fine Pianos, provided funding for his hearing and health care. Walter Grumman and Barbara Haig requested that a piano be donated by David Abel, Fine Pianos. Vega quickly learned English and began his studies at The Colburn School of Performing Arts (where he also taught). He then went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts. The University of Southern California awarded a degree in Jazz Studies and an M.A. The Manhattan School of Music and an Artist Diploma at The Juilliard School. He was awarded the LA Jazz Society’s New Talent Award, The Great American Jazz Piano Competition 2010 and Downbeat’s Student Music Award 2007 for best Jazz Soloist. His compositions have been featured in JAZZIZ. Donald was recently the judge of his first national jazz piano competition Kathleen T. and Phillip B. Phillips Jazz Piano Competition at Pensacola Jazz Festival, April 2010. He had previously won the competition the previous year. Tomorrows was Vega’s debut album as a leader. It was released in July 2008 to rave reviews. Lewis Nash played drums and David J. Grossman played bass. Tomorrows features six original tracks, which shows us how Vega has grown as both a composer and an arranger. Tomorrows is the latest addition to Vega’s growing discography, which includes Bennie Wallace’s Disorder At the Border, Jazz on the Latin Side’s The Last Bull Fighter, Anthony Wilson’s The Power of Nine and Al McKibbon’s Black Orchid. Donald currently lives in New York, where he has recently finished his Juilliard School studies with Kenny Barron, a piano legend. He performs regularly at nightclubs throughout New York City, Europe, and Latin America. Vega’s second album, Spiritual Nature, is slated for release in the summer of 2012.

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