Winner, Astral Artists’ 2009 National Auditions
Regarded as “a daring force of nature” by The New York Times, and “a performer on a league of his own” by The Los Angeles Times, Colombian clarinetist Benito Meza has appeared with the Boston Philharmonic, the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, the Gardner Chamber Orchestra, the Modern Music Ensemble, the Los Angeles Wind Ensemble, and on Harvard University’s Chamber Music series, among many others. A winner of Astral Artists’ 2009 National Auditions, he made his critically acclaimed concerto debut on Astral’s series in April 2012, with Symphony in C. He appears on Astral’s series in the 2012-2013 season in its Inspired By The Spiritual concert.
Mr. Meza has performed and studied with such renowned musicians and conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Gustavo Dudamel, and Yo-Yo Ma. In Boston, he studied with Jonathan Cohler. He has appeared in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall, Boston’s Jordan Hall, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Sanders Theater at Harvard University, and at Lincoln Center, and recently recorded the Grammy-nominated album Providencia with famed pianist and composer Danilo Pérez, for the Mack Avenue Records label.
Mr. Meza grew up in a musical family, and first studied music with his father. At the age of 14 he began clarinet lessons with Carlos Julio Parra Vivas in his native city of Valledupar, and at 17 was awarded a full scholarship to Javeriana University’s music program, where he studied with Hector Pinzon and Christopher Jepperson. In 2001, he was invited to study at the National Institute of Musical Studies in Venezuela with Valdemar Rodriguez and Edgar Pronio, and joined Venezuela’s world-famous music education program, El Sistema. As a member of the celebrated Simón Bolívar Youth Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, he made television appearances with Maestro Andrés Briceño.
Also a composer, Mr. Meza’s compositions and development as a musician have been greatly influenced by the wealth of varied forms of music he was exposed to throughout his childhood. From the beginning of his career, he was involved with both classical and jazz music, and Colombian folk music, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, and contemporary improvisation are also represented in the structure of his compositions.
Updated: JULY 2012