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Carmen Staaf

Primary Instrument: Piano

Born: March 9, 1981    

'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).
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Featured recording “Eye to Eye”

Latest Release

Eye to Eye

Fractamodi.com (2011)

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Become a fan of Carmen Staaf Track
”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...

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Primary InstrumentPiano

LocationBrooklyn, NY

Willing to teachIntermediate to advanced students

Credentials/BackgroundTaught 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 InformationI 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)...

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