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  • Clarise ASSAD, Composer

    Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as a "serious triple threat," and "an arranger and orchestrator of great imagination" (SF Classical Voice), Clarice Assad is making her mark in the music world as a pianist, arranger, vocalist and a composer. A versatile artist of musical depth and sophistication, her works have been published in France (Editions Lemoine), Germany (Trekel), and in the United States (Virtual Artists Collective Publishing), and have been performed in Europe, South America, the United States and Japan. Ms. Assad's music often has a thematic core, and explores the physical and psychological elements of the chosen story or concept. With a repertoire in continuous expansion, her works are sought out by musicians both in the classical and the jazz realms.

    Recent performances include a broadcast hosted by WQXRʼs Terrance McKnight at The Greene Space previewing the 2010 Caramoor International Jazz Festival, in which Ms. Assad will be appearing. In the 2010-2011 concert season, Ms. Assad will be touring with guitarists Sergio & Odair Assad, percussionist Jamey Haddad, and the Lebanese singer Christiane Karam. The group will explore the rhythmic similarities that tie Middle Eastern music with the music of Brazil, with new music being composed by Sergio and Clarice Assad. In addition, a new work for mandolinist Mike Marshall is set to premiere in 2011, and collaborations are planned with Howard Levy, harmonica, and guitarists Romero Lubambo and Yamandu Costa.

    Clarice Assadʼs music has been performed and recorded by many of the most prominent orchestras, soloists, and chamber musicians on the scene today, including names such as violinists Nadja Salerno- Sonnenberg and Iwao Furusawa, violoncellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Anne- Marie McDermott, the guitarists Assad Brothers, the LA Guitar Quartet, the Turtle Island String Quartet, the Cavatina Duo, the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Louisville Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and the New Century Chamber Orchestra, as well as conductors Marin Alsop (Baltimore Symphony) and Christoph Eshcenbach (National Symphony Orchestra and Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.), Robert Bernhardt (Chattanooga/Louisville Pops Orchestra), Kazuyoshi Akiyama (Tokyo Symphony Orchestra), Carlos Miguel Prieto and Alondra de la Parra (Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas), among others.

    As a pianist, Ms. Assad has received acclaim for her performances of both original compositions and her own arrangements of popular Brazilian songs and jazz standards. She has appeared throughout Brazil, including performances at Sao Pauloʼs Espaco Promom and Sesc, Rio de Janeiroʼs Teatro Vanucci, Mistura Fina and Teatro Ipanema, among others. In the United States, Assad has performed at venues including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Centennial Hall in Arizona, Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in California, Pick- Staiger Concert Hall in Chicago, Modlin Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond, as well as at prestigious jazz clubs such as the HotHouse in Chicago and The Knitting Factory in New York City, among others. Appearances in Europe include Le Casino de Paris in Paris, France and the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, Belgium.

    As a vocalist, Ms. Assad sings in Portuguese, French, Italian and English. "When she scats, she sings with intonation as precise as any digital device, improvising cascading scales that take on sparkling lives of their own." (Tucson Citizen) Ms. Assad was one of only 20 young artists selected to participate in a unique five-day workshop for singers of all styles led by Bobby McFerrin which culminated in a performance featuring the original, improvised a cappella work created during the workshop at Carnegie Hallʼs Zankel Hall. She has appeared on Brazilian, American and European radio and television numerous times, including NPRʼs All Songs Considered as a favorite of the week, Marshal Venteʼs show on WDCB, on Chicagoʼs WLUW with Steve Shroeder and on WHCR with host Nelson Radhames.

    Her compositions and arrangements have been recorded on Sony Classical, Universal Music, NSS Music, Nonesuch, Chandos Records, Telarc and Rob Digital in Brazil. Her music has received awards such as the Aaron Copland Award, several ASCAP awards, Meet The Composer's Van Lier Fellowship as well as recognition from the Latin Grammy and the Grammy Foundation, the Franklin Honor Society, American Composers Forum and has been commissioned by Carnegie Hall, the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra and the New Century Chamber Orchestra. Further testament to Ms. Assadʼs composing talent is evidenced in her being selected to participate in the 100th Anniversary of the MacDowell Colony in 2007, an extremely high honor.

    A native of Rio de Janeiro, Clarice Assad was born into one of Brazilʼs most famous musical families (she is the daughter of Sergio Assad, one of todayʼs preeminent guitarists and composers), and has performed professionally since the age of seven. Formal piano studies began with Sheila Zagury in Brazil; she then studied with Natalie Fortin and had additional instruction in Jazz and Brazilian piano under the tutelage of Leandro Braga. Clarice continued her classical piano studies in the United States with Ed Bedner (Berklee School of Music) and then Bruce Berr at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Composition studies have been with Ilya Levinson, Stacy Garrop, David Rakowski, Michael Daugherty and Claude Baker. Ms. Assad holds a Bachelor of Music from the Chicago College of the Performing Arts, Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois, and a Masters of Music in Composition from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.