Oscar Penas

Brooklyn, NY, United States


Guitarist and composer Oscar Peñas epitomizes a new wave of emerging artists who are an integral part of New York’s flourishing music scene. Trained in his native Barcelona, Spain in classical guitar before exploring the Jazz world. Peñas now a New York based, has been performing and recording since early 2000s throughout his career, and shared his love for music combining performing with teaching. Oscar Peñas’ compositions are diverse transcending and yet merging different genres, cultures and styles with fluidity, grace and power. His style has been described at WNYC as “transnational cool”. Although his music can be called “jazz”, it crosses the boundaries of traditional music labeling, blending the idiom through original compositions with hints of new Spanish folk music and some Brazilian urban grooves. After graduating cum lade from Berklee College of Music, where he was awarded with a Professional Music Achievement in recognition of his outstanding musicianship, Oscar returned to Barcelona in 2000 to hone his chops by performing in Festivals and local jazz venues. His recording history started with his two albums on Fresh Sound, Astronautus (2003) and The Return of the Astronautus (2005). Both CDs featured original compositions in the format of an electric quintet. Back in USA after his second recording, in 2005 Peñas decided to enroll for a master at the New England Conservatory earning a Master’s degree in Jazz Performance from the NEC in 2007 and moved to New York, making Brooklyn his home. Since this year, Peñas created and actively works with his band that performs in the trio or quartet format, crossing genres and featuring instruments uncommon in jazz like the accordion and violin. From Now On released in November 2011 is Peñas third disc and his debut in USA, this third critically acclaimed recording features music legend Gil Goldstein, on accordion and piano along with his current ensemble. Peñas’ most consistent output in recent years has taken place in the trio format. The sound palette of the group flows naturally between acoustic and electric textures with a recent and exciting classy addition of violin. This year, Oscar was a recipient of ASCAP Plus Award for has works performed in unsurveyed media, as well as a writer whose catalogs have prestige value. After a successful fundraising campaign with USA Projects, Peñas is currently working on his fourth and self-produced album, Music of Departures and Returns, which features his working quartet and special guests Grammy Winners Esperanza Spalding and Paquito D’ Rivera. Peñas’ jazz ensemble has performed in many New York area clubs (BAMcafé Live, Tea Lounge, Bargemusic, Fat Cat, Bar Next Door, Jazz Standard, and 55 Bar…), toured Europe (France and Spain) and South America (Colombia and Panama), also, played at Jazz Plaza, Habana Jazz Festival in Cuba, 2010, Most of Oscar’s performances were combined with seminars or masters classes where Peñas facilitated master classes and clinics offered to the impoverished children giving them an opportunity to take part in a hands-on musical experience. Beside Peñas work with his ensemble and as an educator, Oscar has played/toured with trumpeters Jason Palmer and Ralph Alessi; saxophonists Dan Blake, Petr Cancura, Uri Gurvich and Javier Vercher; pianists Gil Goldstein and Leo Genovese; and drummers Henry Cole, David Xirgu and Francisco Mela. Teaching Oscar Peñas Teaching at Fundación Danilo Perez, Panama (by Zulema Mejias) Oscar is available for Skype lessons and private lessons in NYC. Please, contact him at Oscar has been teaching music (guitar, improvisation, ear-training, harmony and jazz ensembles) to adults, teenagers and children for about fifteen years. He tailors his lessons to the needs of each student. Fundacion Danilo Perez (by Zulema Mejias) His academic work currently is at 92Y, School of the Arts, in New York City, where he covers teaching guitar lessons to groups and individual alternating the week with his Private Studio, teaching electric and classical guitar, jazz harmony and ear training. His teaching experience while in Barcelona was at Taller de Músics as a fit Faculty from 2000 to 2005, while there, Peñas taught guitar and jazz ensembles from beginners to intermediate levels. Many aspects were covered in his classes including but not limited to harmony, repertoire, accompaniment, technique, jazz articulation and improvisation. Oscar has taught seminars, clinics and master-classes in Colombia (Universidad Javeriana, Universidad de los Andes, AMMUS), Panama (Danilo Perez Foundation) and Spain (Taller de Musics,


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