Clarice Assad

Guest Artist

Clarice Assad, composer

“she energetically bends music to her will and reshapes it with fascinating results.”
– Jazz Improv Magazine 2022

A powerful communicator renowned for her musical scope and versatility, Brazilian-American Clarice Assad is a significant artistic voice in the classical, world music, pop, and jazz genres. The Grammy Award–nominated composer, celebrated pianist, inventive vocalist and educator is acclaimed for her evocative colors, rich textures, and diverse stylistic range.

What motivates Assad? What drives her passion and creativity? Writing and playing music that inspires and encourages audiences’ imaginations to break free of often self-imposed constraints is just the beginning. She endeavors to harness the incredible and intangible power of music to connect people and transform lives through original works, commissions, and education programs that give voice to everything from the impact of climate change to issues of social justice, gender equity, and the empowerment of young voices.

With her talent sought-after by artists and organizations worldwide, the polyglot musician continues to attract new audiences both onstage and off. In the recording arena, Assad has released seven solo albums and appeared on or had her works performed on another 34. Her music is represented on Cedille Records, SONY Masterworks, Nonesuch, Adventure Music, Edge, Telarc, NSS Music, GHA, and CHANDOS. Her innovative and award-winning VOXploration education series on music creation, songwriting, and improvisation has been presented throughout the world.

The prolific composer has more than 70 works to her credit, including numerous commissions for Carnegie Hall, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Boston Youth Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, the Bravo! Vail Music Festival, and the La Jolla Music Festival, to name a few. Her compositions have been recorded by some of the most prominent names in classical music, including percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and oboist Liang Wang. Assad’s music has been performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony, Queensland Symphony, and the Orquestra Sinfônica de São Paulo. She has served as a composer-in-residence for the Albany Symphony, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, New Century Chamber Orchestra, and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra. Her works are published in France (Editions Lemoine), Germany (Trekel), Brazil (Criadores do Brasil), and in the U.S. by Virtual Artists Collective Publishing (VACP), a publishing company she co-founded with poet and philosopher Steve Schroeder. Assad recently wrote the soundtrack to Devoti Tutti, a documentary by Bernadette Wegenstein, and is composing the music for a ballet by award-winning choreographer Shannon Alvis.

As a performer, Assad has shared the stage with Bobby McFerrin, Anat Cohen, Nadia Sirota, Paquito D’Rivera, Tom Harrell, Marilyn Mazur and Mike Marshall, among others. She has performed at internationally renowned venues and festivals including The Netherlands’ Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall, Belgium’s Le Palais des Beaux-Arts, Le Casino de Paris, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Caramoor International Jazz Festival.

Assad also strives to expand the sonic palette of the voice, including immersing audiences in the music as active participants and by electronically altering sounds, “like one of those cooks who can turn any four random foodstuffs into a feast” (Classical Voice North America).

She takes the immersive experience outside of the concert hall with the innovative and accessible VOXploration, which she created in 2015. The program offers a creative and fun approach to music education through meaningful, interactive experiences. It has been carefully curated to work equally well with participants of any age or musical background. It has received numerous grants and awards from Brazilian foundations such as CAIXA CULTURAL and SESC, as well as American organizations New Music USA and the McKnight Foundation. Assad has given master classes, residencies, and workshops throughout the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Clarice Assad is one of the most widely performed Brazilian concert music composers of her generation. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, amongst them an Aaron Copland Award and several ASCAP awards in composition, she holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Roosevelt University in Chicago, and a Master of Music degree from The University of Michigan School of Music.

Banner photo by Susan and Neil Silverman
Photo of Clarice Assad by Marcelo Macaue

Clarice Assad