Mike LeDonne: JAZZ ARTIST- IN-RESIDENCE
World-class jazz pianist and organist, Mike LeDonne is the Department of Music’s 2018 Jazz Artist-in-Residence. During his residency, he will deliver masterclasses on jazz piano and composition, conduct a rehearsal with the York University Jazz Orchestra, and coach small jazz ensembles.
This jam session offers a unique opportunity to hear LeDonne in performance with faculty members in the Department of Music’s jazz program. The setting is informal. Bring your lunch and enjoy the music. Admission is free.
About the Artist
Pianist Mike LeDonne started playing piano at the age of 5 and was raised in his parent’s music store. By the age of 10 his father, a jazz guitarist, began booking him on gigs. He is now an internationally renowned pianist and organist with the unique experience of having played with a wide spectrum of jazz masters from Benny Goodman to Milt Jackson and Sonny Rollins. He has won praise not only from critics but from master musicians: Oscar Peterson picked him as one of his favorite pianists of today.
At age 21, Mike graduated from New England Conservatory in 1979 and moved to New York City with the Widespread Jazz Orchestra. In 1981, he left Widespread to travel to the UK with Panama Francis and the Savoy Sultans. On returning, he began a two-year stint as the house pianist at Jimmy Ryan’s, then one of New York’ s oldest jazz clubs. It was there that he came under the influence of and played with many old masters such as Roy Eldridge, Papa Jo Jones and Vic Dickenson. He spent 1982-1983 with the Benny Goodman sextet and went on to play with Buddy Tate, Al Grey, Ruby Braff and many others. Later he worked 1 year with the Art Farmer-Clifford Jordan Quintet, went to Paris with Grady Tate, and played with more modern masters like James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Turrentine, Charles McPherson, Sonny Rollins and Bobby Hutcherson. He also spent time as accompanist to singers Ernestine Anderson, Annie Ross and Etta Jones.
In 1988 he started playing with the Milt Jackson Quartet (along with Mickey Roker and Bob Cranshaw). Mr. Jackson recorded Mike’s compositions and arrangements. Mike also became the band’s musical director. In the fall of 1992, Mike was chosen to be part of a group of top young musicians for the Phillip Morris Superband World Tour. Mike served as musical director for that group, which featured Ryan Kisor on trumpet, Joshua Redman on tenor saxophone, Jesse Davis on alto saxophone, Christian McBride on bass and Lewis Nash at the drums. Around this time, Mike toured with the Newport All-Stars in lineups that featured Harry “Sweets” Edison and Clark Terry. Mike has been playing and recording with Benny Golson since 1997. He has also been leading trios that have included greats like Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Billy Hart, Pete LaRoca and Louis Hayes.
Mike is on over 100 CD’s as a sideman and starting in 1988 recorded his first of 16 CD’s as a leader. Five on Criss Cross Jazz, three on Double Time Records, seven on Savant and one on Cellar Live. Many of hem award winning and include the greatest musicians around today including Tom Harrell, Gary Smulyan, Dennis Irwin, Kenny Washington, Steve Nelson, Ryan Kisor, Jim Rotondi, Joshua Redman, Lewis Nash, Peter Washington, Peter Bernstein, Eric Alexander, Jeremy Pelt, Joe Farnsworth, John Webber, Bob Cranshaw, Mickey Roker and Ron Carter.
In 2003 Mike recorded his first CD as a leader on the Hammond Organ, an instrument he’s been playing since he was 10. It documented the music of his organ band The Groover Quartet with Eric Alexander, Peter Bernstein and Joe Farnsworth. The CD went to #1 and together they’ve held down a now legendary gig on Tuesday nights at Smoke in NYC. He has since released 3 more CD’s of this band, on the Savant label, which he calls The Groover Quartet. They’ve toured in Europe and Japan as well as the States. Mike also caught the ears of George Coleman, Lou Donaldson and David Fathead Newman who all hired him to play organ in their bands. The Jazz Journalists Association nominated Mike for Best Keyboards 2012 for his “Keep The Faith” CD. Also in 2012, Mike won the Downbeat Rising Star Award for Organ.
Mike is the co-author of Jim Snidero’s Jazz Conception for Piano and Piano Comping books, on Advance Music. In Sept. In 2002 he joined the faculty at the Juilliard School of Music and spent 4 years there. He is also one of the founders of the Jazz For Teens program at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J.
Mike LeDonne’s residency is made possible by the Oscar Peterson endowment at York University, which also supports the Oscar Peterson Scholarship in Jazz Performance, an annual entrance scholarship that provides up to $40,000 over four years to an incoming music student.
The York University Brass Ensemble directed by James MacDonald and the York University Percussion Ensemble led by John Brownell perform works by Byrd, Handel, Bach and others.
Admission is free.
Mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó leads a masterclass with young singers from the classical vocal performance studios of York music faculty members Catherine Robbin, Stephanie Bogle, Norma Burrowes and Karen Rymal.
Observers are welcome at the masterclass, but please use discretion when entering and exiting the hall.
Hungarian-Canadian mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó has become highly sought after in both North America and Europe as an artist of supreme musicianship and stagecraft. The Chicago Tribune exclaimed, “Krisztina Szabó stole her every scene with her powerful, mahogany voice and deeply poignant immersion in the empress’ plight” after her performance of Ottavia in L’incoronazione di Poppea. She made her Lincoln Center début as Dorabella in Così fan tutte at the Mostly Mozart Festival where she was praised in the New York Times for being “clear, strong, stately and an endearingly vulnerable Dorabella.” In her hometown of Toronto, Canada, she has been nominated twice for a Dora Award for Outstanding Female Performance.
In the 2017-18 season, Krisztina Szabó will make her Royal Opera and Netherlands Opera débuts in George Benjamin’s new opera, Lessons in Love and Violence. She will also appear as Angel/Marie in Benjamin’s Written on Skin for both Opera Philadelphia and the Holland Festival, and as Dido in both Dido and Aeneas (Purcell) and Aeneas and Dido (James Rolfe) with Toronto Masque Theatre, Toronto. She will appear in concert with Pax Christi Chorale (Bruckner’s Te Deum), Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder), Arion Baroque Orchestra (Bach Mass in A Major), Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal (Sokolovic’s Pesma), and she will be soloist in Händel’s Messiah with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra , Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and Vancouver Early Music. In March 2018, she will début a new song cycle by Jeffrey Ryan with Canadian Art Song Project in recital with pianist, Steven Philcox.
Photo by: Bo Huang
LUCIANA SOUZA : JAZZ ARTIST- IN-RESIDENCE
Grammy award winning vocalist and instrumentalist, Luciana Souza, is the Department of Music’s 2019 Jazz Artist-in-Residence. During her residency, she will deliver masterclasses for vocalists and instrumentalists as well as coach small jazz ensembles.
This jam session offers a unique opportunity to hear Souza in performance with faculty members in the Department of Music’s jazz program. Admission is free.
About the Artist
Grammy winner Luciana Souza is one of Jazz’s leading singers and interpreters. Born in São Paulo,
Brazil, Ms. Souza grew up in a family of Bossa Nova innovators – her father, a singer and songwriter, her
mother, a poet and lyricist. Luciana’s work as a performer transcends traditional boundaries around
musical styles, offering solid roots in jazz, sophisticated lineage in world music, and an enlightened
approach to new music.
As a leader, Luciana Souza has been releasing acclaimed recordings since 2002 – including her six
Grammy-nominated records Brazilian Duos, North and South, Duos II, Tide, Duos III, and The Book of
Chet. Her debut recording for Universal, The New Bossa Nova, was produced by her husband, Larry
Klein, and was met with widespread critical acclaim. Luciana’s recordings also include two works based
on poetry – The Poems of Elizabeth Bishop And Other Songs, and Neruda. Of her 2015 release, Speaking
in Tongues, The New York Times said: “Luciana Souza has used her voice as an instrument of empathy
and intimacy, cultural linkage and poetic disquisition… singing wordlessly but with full expressive
Ms. Souza has performed and recorded with luminaries including Herbie Hancock (on his Grammy
winning record, River – The Joni Letters), Paul Simon, James Taylor, Bobby McFerrin, Maria Schneider,
Danilo Perez, and many others. Her longstanding duo work with Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo
has earned her accolades across the globe, and her complete discography contains more than sixty records
as a side singer. Luciana Souza’s singing has been called “transcendental, “perfect, ” and of “unparalleled
beauty. ” Entertainment Weekly writes, “Her voice traces a landscape of emotion that knows no
boundaries.” Of her work with the chamber music ensemble, A Far Cry, the Boston Globe said: “Her
performance was more than beautiful. It was consolatory, and true to the work’s air of ultimate things.”
Luciana Souza has been a prominent soloist in two important works by composer Osvaldo Golijov – La
Pasion According to St. Mark, and Oceana. She has performed with the Bach Akademie Stuttgart, the
Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Other orchestral appearances include
performances with the New York Philharmonic, the Atlanta Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic,
the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the American Composers Orchestra. Her work in chamber
music includes a fruitful collaboration with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, composers Derek Bermel,
Patrick Zimmerli, and the five composers of The Blue Hour – Rachel Grimes, Angelica Negrón, Shara
Nova, Caroline Shaw, and Sarah Kirkland Snyder – a setting of a poem by Carolyn Forché.
Ms. Souza began her recording career at age three with a radio commercial, and recorded more than 200
jingles and soundtracks, becoming a first-call studio veteran at age sixteen. She spent four years on
faculty at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she received a Bachelor’s in Jazz Composition. Ms.
Souza earned a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from New England Conservatory of Music and taught for
four years at Manhattan School of Music, in New York City. Ms. Souza continues to teach Master
Classes all over the world.
From 2005 to 2010, Luciana was the Jazz Artist in Residence with the prestigious San Francisco
Performances. In 2005 and 2013 Luciana was awarded Best Female Jazz Singer by the Jazz Journalists
Billboard magazine has said of Luciana: “she continues her captivating journey as a uniquely talented
vocalist who organically crosses genre borders. Her music soulfully reflects, wistfully regrets,
romantically woos, joyfully celebrates…”