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Donald Vega

Visiting Affiliate Artist

Donald Vega was trained classically in piano in his native Nicaragua. He emigrated to the United States at age 14 and found a musical home with the Colburn School of Performing Arts, where he began his studies in classical piano with Teresa de Jong Pombo and Louis Lepley. Vega began learning the language of jazz from mentor Billy Higgins at the World Stage and continued at CSPA with Jeffrey Lavner, then later with bassist John Clayton at the University of Southern California. He went on to graduate from the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School, where he studied with the piano great, Kenny Barron.

Vega currently performs internationally as the pianist for world renowned bassist Ron Carter’s Golden Striker Trio. He also sits on the board of BackCountry Jazz, a nonprofit organization that provides music education programs and performances to underprivileged youth. Vega’s debut album, Tomorrows, was released in 2008 to rave reviews. In his sophomore album, Spiritual Nature (Resonance Records, 2012), he was joined by the regal rhythm tandem of bassist Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash. Vega’s teamed up again with Lewis Nash on his latest album, With Respect to Monty (Resonance Records, 2015). Joining Vega and Nash is the great bassist and former Monty Alexander band member Hassan Shakur and long-time friend and Grammy-nominated artist Anthony Wilson on guitar. 

“My heart is in the swing. No matter what style I play, the goal is always to make it feel good.”

— Donald Vega