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Carmen Staaf

Primary Instrument: Piano

Born: March 9, 1981    

Carmen Staaf

'Winner of the festival's piano competition last year, Staaf could have earned a small slot on the program on the strength of her technique alone. What stood out, though, were her compositions, particularly the fanciful “Merry Go Round,” and her trio's fresh interpretation of Denzil Best's “45 Degree Angle,” a Williams favorite.' - David Malitz, The Washington Post (review of the 2010 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival opening night concert at the Kennedy Center).

'Next to take the stage was Carmen Staaf, winner of the 2009 Mary Lou Williams Pianist Competition. Performing with a trio, Staaf presented a mix of original compositions and pieces somehow related to Williams. For each, Staaf provided a detailed explanation of its origins, adding a heartfelt explanation of her respect for William's music and generosity of spirit. Equally sincere in her playing, Staaf delivered clearly articulated ideas, particularly on her own well-structured original compositions. Of particular note was her solo piece “Rory.”' - Frank A. Matzner, All About Jazz, June 24, 2010 (Mary Lou Williams Festival review)....
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Awards

2009 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Pianist Competition winner. 2005 St. Botolph Club Foundation Grant-in-Aid Award winner. 2007 Berklee College of Music Faculty Fellowship for "Reflection" recording project. 2004 Sisters in Jazz Piano chair winner. Phi Beta Kappa, University Scholar, Anthropology Prize winner and summa cum laude (Tufts University). George Whitefield Chadwick Award, Pi Kappa Lambda (New England Conservatory).
”Carmen Staaf is a remarkably mature young pianist, with a wide palette and secure rhythmic base. In short, she swings! Her command of language anchors a very secure improvisatory base and she has an extremely developed musical sense. A most impressive pianist.” - Trombonist/composer/arranger Bob Brookmeyer, 2004

“A new star to discover…a wonderfully melodic and inventive keyboardist.” -Michael G. Nastos, Allmusic.com, 2009

“Winner of the festival's piano competition last year, Staaf could have earned a small slot on the program on the strength of her technique alone. What stood out, though, were her compositions, particularly the fanciful ”Merry Go Round,” and her trio's fresh interpretation of Denzil Best's “45 Degree Angle,” a Williams favorite.” - David Malitz, The Washington Post (review of the 2010 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival opening night concert at the Kennedy Center).

“[Reflection is] lovely work, heartfelt and lyrical...I love it when I can hear an artist's personality in her or his work.” -John Chacona, writer for Signal to Noise and CODA, 2009

“Staaf came up with a subtly crafted, wonderfully realized arrangement of swing and professional quality.” -Craig Jolley, All About Jazz, www.allaboutjazz.com, 2005

“Pianist/accordionist Carmen Staaf is quite extraordinary...” - Ari Davidow, www.klezmershack.com, 2004

“The heroes of this performance are the musicians, particularly accordionist Carmen Staaf...Staaf provides the piece with the appropriate Brecht-Weill vibe...” -David Johnston, www.nytheatre.com, 2008

“'Reflection' is profoundly beautiful...One of the best things I've heard in years” -Bud Young, KBCS FM 91.3, Seattle, WA, 2008

This information is provided by discogs.com or the profile administrator.

Primary Instrument:
Piano

Location:
Brooklyn, NY

Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students

Credentials/Background:
Taught at Berklee College of Music in the Piano Department for four years (2005-2009). Private instruction to students of all ages and levels, with an emphasis on improvisation as well as the foundations of classical technique.

Clinic/Workshop Information:
I offer clinics on jazz improvisation for beginners (working with the basics of blues, call-and-response, and swing feel); intermediate students (broadening repertoire and exploring Afro-Cuban and Brazilian influences in jazz); and advanced students (motivic improvisation, advanced jazz harmony and free improvisation). Additionally, I give jazz piano clinics that incorporate improvisational concepts and vocabulary specific to the piano in the jazz tradition, as well as technical considerations for pianists. I also offer a clinic on non-genre-specific improvisational and compositional techniques, including game pieces, text settings, and set theory.

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