Brazilian-American Clarice Assad is a Grammy nominated composer, pianist, and vocalist of musical depth and ability. Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “a serious triple threat”, Assad is a vibrant, highly prolific and commissioned composer whose music defy categorization. Carefully crafted colorful textures permeate her soulful and musical world, which embraces a wide variety of styles, including her own original concepts.
World premieres for the 2016–17 season include Windland, commissioned by General Electric for the Albany Symphony’s ensemble Dogs of Desire, The Saci-Pererê, written for Marc Teicholz and commissioned by the Harris Foundation, Z SONATA, commissioned by the Ocean Reef Music Festival for Opus One, ELEMENTOS, commissioned by SOLI ensemble, Sephardic Suite, commissioned by Cedille Records for the Cavatina duo and the Avalon String Quartet to premiered at the Ravinia Festival. In 2017, Dame Evelyn Glennie will premiere Assad’s percussion concerto at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.
Assad’s music has also been commissioned by Carnegie Hall, Fundação OSESP, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the New Chamber Orchestra, Concordia Chamber Players, the Albany Symphony, the Harris Foundation, Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, the BRAVO! Music Festival, La Jolla Music Festival, among others. Her works has been recorded and performed by some of the most prominent soloists and conductors today, including Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Yo-Yo Ma, Mike Marshall, the Turtle Island String Quartet, LA Guitar Quartet, Anne-Marie McDermott, Eugenia Zuckerman, Ida Kavafian, Chanticleer, among others. Her music has been performed by internationally acclaimed orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony, Queensland Symphony, the Orquestra Sinfônica de São Paulo, led by some of today’s most exciting conductors such as Marin Alsop, David Alan Miller, Alondra de la Parra and Christoph Eschenbach.
Assad is the recipient of such awards as the Aaron Copland Award, several ASCAP awards in composition, the Van Lier Fellowship, New Music USA, NPR’s All Songs Considered, American Lyric Theater, the Mcknight Visiting Composer Fellowship, the Jerome Foundation, American Composer Forum’s National Compostion Contest, the Franklin Honor Society, as well as a nomination from the Grammy Foundation for best contemporary composition.
As a performer, Assad has received acclaim for her performances of both original compositions and her own arrangements of popular Brazilian songs, world music and jazz standards. She has performed at venues including Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City and Doha, Qatar, the Caramoor International Jazz Festival, Carnegie hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Concertgebow in Amsterdam, San Francisco Jazz, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in Chicago, Le Casino de Paris in Paris, France and the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, Belgium. Hailed by the LA Times as “A dazzling soloist,” Assad sings in Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian and English, but thrives in exploring the voice as an instrument, creating a vast array of innovative textures and incorporating an exciting vocabulary of extended techniques into her music.
Assad’s music is represented on Cedille Records, SONY Masterworks, Edge, Telarc, NSS Music, GHA and CHANDOS labels. She has recorded four solo albums, the latest titled “IMAGINARIUM”, which features over 50 guests: a combination of professional and amateur instrumentalists and singers,which has received stellar reviews from Jazz Times, Jazz Weekly, World Music Report and Songlines, among other publications. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree with honors from the Roosevelt University and a Master of Music degree from The University of Michigan School of Music, where she studied with Michael Daugherty, Susan Botti and Evan Chambers. Her works are published in France (Editions Lemoine), Germany (Trekel), Criadores do Brasil (Brazil) and independently by Virtual Artists Collective Publishing, (VACP) a publishing company co-founded with poet and philosopher Steve Schroeder. On its 10 year anniversary, VACP has published 55 volumes of poetry and music.
This concerto was commissioned by Marc Teicholz and funded by the Harris Foundation and New Music USA. The piece was premiered at the San Francisco Conservatory on January of 2016 by Marc Teicholz and conductor Nicole Paiement. Classical Guitar Magazine wrote: “Assad’s piece was bold, exciting, and completely unpredictable… highly musical and definitely compelling. .. This is precisely the sort of adventurous and involving piece the guitar repertoire needs more of. I hope other orchestras will take a chance on it.”
Nhanderú pronounced (/nyuh.dey.roo/) means “God” in Tupi-Guarani, a language spoken by a group of indigenous peoples living in areas of the Amazon basin. Natives from Tupi-Guarani tribes, like many other societies, often practiced a ritual called rainmaking, (or rain dance) which is intended to invoke rain through prayer. During the ceremony, they summoned spirits of the land as well as their ancestors to bring in the rain so as to ensure soil fertility, abundant harvest and to frighten away the spirits of the lost world.
The Disappeared is a political piece about the underlying political events that led to the massive destruction of an entire village in El Salvador, told through the eyes of its only survivor, Rufina Amaya. Each circus “act” metaphorically addresses political issues such as power abuse and freedom. The acts are woven together by interludes sung by a female voice who lives in a parallel reality and accounts for what happened before the pandemonium and in the aftermath, but never during the present.