Michel Nirenberg

Michel Nirenberg, a Brazilian native and jazz composer, has been making a name for himself in Washington, DC’s jazz scene since 2012. While he has made a name for his self in Brazil by performing at many festivals and winning competitions, he also earned a top-of-the-class bachelor’s degree from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He graduated from James Madison University in 2014 with a master’s in music. He was also a performing and teaching assistant. He was already playing with the best performers in both countries long before he graduated. Nirenberg was born into a musical family and has been studying music since childhood. He was born to be a musician. His father is a violinist in the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, based in Rio. He also teaches chamber music at UFRJ. His mother, a talented pianist, is also a teacher. Jaques Nirenberg was his paternal grandfather and a respected violinist in the Brazilian String Quartet. They performed in concert halls all over the globe for more than five decades, including Carnegie Hall in Washington, D.C. Michel studied classical piano, guitar, and clarinet before he took up the saxophone when he was 15. Michel received the horn as a gift from his parents. Michel is unique because he made music his main occupation, despite the fact that many of his family members are musicians. His musical style is modern Brazilian instrumental music. His most recent album showcases a wide range of influences, including choro which is a uniquely Brazilian genre of urban pop music. Choro is full of counterpoint and syncopation, and it is marked by virtuosity and improvisation. Nirenberg is able to approach it in a variety of exciting new ways. He performs straight-ahead jazz on the disc and takes a surprising leap into avant-garde music on the bonus track. For a long season of his musical life, Nirenberg’s principal influences were classical; later he immersed himself in various styles of jazz and Brazilian styles (choro, samba, and baiao, maracatu), and he listened to multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal and guitarist/pianist Egberto Gismonte. Retrato (Portrait), his first recording as a leader, is due to be released on the Carioca label. It features Brazilian musicians like Alejandro Lucini and Leonardo Lucini (bass), and Rogerio Souza (guitar). American pianist Alex Brown and Dani Cortaza, an Argentine guitarist, complete the list of highly-respected musicians with international reputations. Nirenberg was one of the founding members of the Philharmonic Band of Rio de Janeiro, and was a featured soloist for 2012. He also performed solos on the saxophone with the Brazilian Youth Symphony Orchestra (BYSO) and Fundarte Chamber Orchestra (FCO). He also performed solo with the Symphonic Orchestra, and UFRJ’s jazz ensemble. His journey to the U.S. began in Brazil with the Concurso Jovens Musicos – Musica no Museu competition. This is the Competition for Young Musicians and Music in the Museum. He was awarded second place in a competition that featured talented musicians from Brazil. He received a master’s degree in music performance-saxophone in 2014. This feat was made even more remarkable by the fact that Nirenberg had to learn English while he was studying. He speaks fluently in English and Portuguese as well as Spanish and French. This reflects the diversity of cultures that have influenced his musical approach. from www.michelnirenberg.com

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