Clarice Assad

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Clarice V. Assad
Clarice assad.jpg
Background information
Native name Clarice Vasconcelos da Cunha Assad Simão
Born (1978-02-09) February 9, 1978 (age 38)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Genres Classical, Jazz, World Music, Pop
Occupation(s) Composer, arranger, pianist, singer, teacher
Instruments Piano, bass
Years active 1996–present
Labels Adventure Music
Associated acts OFF THE CLIFF, Musical Group

Clarice Assad is a classical and jazz composer, arranger, pianist, and vocalist.

A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Clarice Assad has performed professionally since the age of seven. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Roosevelt University, in Chicago, IL, and a Masters degree in Composition from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is the eldest daughter of Sergio Assad. She is a 2009 Latin Grammy nominee.[1]

Her works have been published in France (Editions Lemoine), Germany (Trekel), and in the United States (Virtual Artists Collective Publishing), and have been performed in Europe, South America, the United States and Japan.

Clarice Assad is a NSS Music[2] and Adventure Music artist. Her music is licensed through ASCAP and Parma Recordings. She was the featured composer for the 2008–2009 season at the New Century Chamber Orchestra,[3] where she currently works as the orchestra's primary arranger and orchestrator.


Her music has been performed and recorded by orchestras, soloists, and chamber musicians, such as violinists Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Iwao Furusawa, violoncellist Yo-Yo Ma, the guitarists Assad Brothers, the LA Guitar Quartet, the Turtle Island String Quartet, the Cavatina Duo, the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Louisville Symphony Orchestra, the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony and the New Century Chamber Orchestra, as well as conductors Marin Alsop (Baltimore Symphony) and Christoph Eschenbach (National Symphony Orchestra and Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.), Robert Bernhardt (Chattanooga/Louisville Pops Orchestra), Kazuyoshi Akiyama (Tokyo Symphony Orchestra), Carlos Miguel Prieto and Alondra de la Parra (Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas), among others.

Her compositions and arrangements have been recorded on Sony Classical, Universal Music, NSS Music, Nonesuch, Cedille Records, Adventure Music, Chandos Records, Telarc and Rob Digital in Brazil. She has been commissioned by Carnegie Hall, the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, the New Century Chamber Orchestra, the Rochester Chamber Orchestra, Concordia Chamber Players, Ethos Percussion Group, PRO MUSICA Chamber Orchestra, Cabrillo Music Festival, the Cavatina Duo, the LA Guitar Quartet, Aquarelle guitar quartet, pianist and Vail Music Festival's artistic director Anne-Marie McDermott, to name a few.


Clarice Assad has performed extensively throughout the USA, as well as Brazil and Europe.

As a vocalist, Assad sings in Portuguese, French, Italian and English, but is mostly known for her "Brazilian scat" performances which combine extended and innovative vocal techniques in conjunction with the piano.

She has appeared on Brazilian, American and European radio and television numerous times, including NPR’s "All Songs Considered" as a favorite of the week, Marshal Vente’s show on WDCB, and on Chicago’s WLUW with Steve Shroeder. Clarice's music frequently featured on WNYC and the Columbia College Chicago radio station WCRX.


  • “Her impassioned vocal work and her descent from one of Brazil’s leading musical families have combined to enable her to offer an inimitable style—already matured—that’s unlike anyone else’s. In contrast to the expectation of Brazilian singers remaining within a narrow range of coolness expressing romantic ambivalence, Assad rejoices through singing, her multi-faceted talent uncontainable as she energetically bends music to her will and reshapes it with fascinating results.” — Jazz Improv
  • “She has that trademark Assad style of flying-fingered aplomb. At times it sounded like she had eight hands on the keys while her scat style floated effortlessly above it.” — Classical Guitar Magazine
  • “[This] siren’s voice croons elegantly and seductively from the speakers on the very first note.” —
  • “As Brazilian dynasties go, few can rival the breadth or depth of the tri-generational Assad clan.” — JazzTimes
  • "...serious triple threat..." – San Francisco Chronicle
  • "An arranger and orchestrator of great imagination." – SF Classical Voice
  • "A charismatic singer." – The New York Times[4]


  • California Brazil Camp 2011 | Body Percussion & Vocal Workshop Improvisation – Private Composition Lessons
  • Conservatory, Rahway, NJ 2010–present
  • Private instruction in classical piano and theory, jazz piano, jazz theory Private Studio, 2004–present
  • Private instruction in composition, arranging, theory, jazz and classical piano University of Michigan, 2002–2004
  • Tutor in classical and jazz theory, aural skills, dictation Roosevelt University, 1999–2002
  • Tutor in classical and jazz theory, aural skills, dictation

Awards and fellowships[edit]

  • Van Lier Fellowship – Meet the Composer (2010)[5]
  • Latin Grammy Nomination for Best Classical Contemporary Composition (2009)[1]
  • The Bobby McFerrin Carnegie Hall Professional Workshop Series (For Vocalists) (2008)
  • Yaddo Composer Residency (2009)
  • MacDowell Colony Fellowship (2008)
  • Osvaldo Golijov | Dawn Upshaw Carnegie Hall Workshop Series (For Composers & Singers) (2007)
  • The Aaron Copland Award (2006)
  • ASCAP Plus Award (4) 2007–Present
  • ASCAP’s Morton Gould Young Composer Award (2005)
  • Encore Grant – Meet the Composer (2005)
  • RUMOS Itaú Cultural – São Paulo, Brazil. (2005)
  • International Association for Jazz Education Award (IAJE) (2005)
  • All Songs Considered NPR (Best Song Competition) (2004)
  • University of Michigan. (Graduate Fellowship) (2003)
  • Samuel Ostrowsky Humanities Award (2002)
  • Franklin Honor Society Award (2002)
  • Chicago College of Performing Arts (Undergraduate Scholarship) (2001)

Partial list of works[edit]


  • Ópera Das Pedras Commissioned by the SESC Foundation, São Paulo, Brazil. Libretto by Denise Milan, directed by Lee Breuer, 2010


  • Essentials of Flor Choreography by Kristi Spessard Mabou Mines Suite Resident Artist Program. Premiere: January 2011
  • Impressions Suite – For String Orchestra – Choreographed by Steve Rooks – Masterworks Festival, Indiana, 2011
  • Steps To Grace Commissioned by Lou Fancher, 2002


  • A Lição de Anatomia By Carlus Mathus, 2003

Large ensembles[edit]

  • Toward the Unknown Region – Commissioned by the Rochester Chamber Orchestra, 2010
  • Suite Back To Our Roots (co-written by Sergio Assad) For strings, winds, guitar and sazouki
  • Scattered Concerto for scat singing, piano and orchestra (Possible through a grant by Meet The Composer’s Van Lier Fellowship) 2009
  • Dreamscapes: Fantasia for Strings and Solo Violin, 2009
  • Impressions: Suite For Chamber Orchestra Commissioned by the New Century Chamber Orchestra, 2008
  • Circense: For Wind Ensemble, 2007
  • Brazilian Fanfare: Overture For Orchestra Commissioned by the Chattanooga Orchestra, 2005[6]
  • Concerto for Violin and Orchestra Commissioned by Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, 2004[7]

Small ensembles[edit]

  • Suite Back To Our Roots (co-written by Sergio Assad) Arabic text by Christiane Karam, Portuguese translation by Daniel Basilio
  • Z Sonata (piano, cello & violin)
  • Scatocello Variations (cello and scat singing)
  • Obrigado (string quartet and solo mandolin) Commissioned by the Concordia Chamber Players, Premiere 2011
  • Cirandada, Clássicas Cantigas Commissioned by American Composers Alliance, 2010[8]
  • Quebra-Queixo Commissioned by the Trépanier/Donkin guitar piano duo, 2008
  • Ratchenitsa (string quartet and two guitars) 2008
  • Three Balkan Dances Commissioned by the Cavatina Duo, 2007
  • Pole To Pole – 2 Flutes, Oboe, Bb Clarinet, piano and 2 percussionists – Commissioned by the Cube Ensemble, 2007
  • O Curupira (percussion ensemble) Commissioned by the Ethos Percussion Group, 2006
  • Song for my father (mandolin orchestra) Commissioned by the Providence Mandolin Orchestra, 2004
  • Three Sketches Commissioned by the Assad Brothers, 2003
  • Flutuante (guitar and clarinet) Commissioned by Gabriele Mirabassi, 2000
  • The Imperial City (violin, clarinet, cello and piano) 1999


  • The Last Song (guitar arrangement by Ondrej Vesely) 2011
  • Maré de Água Viva (guitar version by Sergio Assad) 2010
  • Danças Nativas Commissioned by the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet (Nominated for a Latin Grammy for Best Contemporary Composition – 2009)
  • Brasileirinhas Commissioned by the Eterna Guitar Duo, 2004[9]
  • Bluezilian Commissioned by the LA Guitar Quartet, 2004
  • Valsas do Rio (guitar duo) 2001
  • Mercador de sonhos (guitar duo) 1997


  • Nightclub (Piazzolla) – For guitar, violin & cello Commissioned by Sens Management, Korea, 2011
  • Cinema Paradiso – For guitar, violin & cello, Commissioned by Senes Management, Korea, 2011
  • 4 Schubert Lieder – Commissioned by the New Century Chamber Orchestra, 2011
  • Tango Suite – Astor Piazzolla (piano four-hands) Commissioned by Svetlana Gorokhovich, 2010
  • Pictures At An Exhibition – Modest Mussorgsky (string orchestra, prepared piano & percussion) – Commissioned by New Century Chamber Orchestra, 2009
  • O Magnum Mysterium – Morten Lauridsen (string orchestra and soprano) Commissioned by New Century Chamber Orchestra, 2008
  • An International Holiday Medley (string orchestra, flute, oboe, trumpet chorus and soprano) Commissioned by New Century Chamber Orchestra, 2008
  • Three Piazzolla Etudes For Solo Flute (guitar & flute) Commissioned by the Cavatina Duo, 2008
  • Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 – Villa-Lobos (string orchestra) Commissioned by the New Century Chamber Orchestra, 2007
  • Praeludium & Allegro – Fritz Kreisler (string orchestra) Commissioned by the New Century Chamber Orchestra, 2007


  • WHEN ART SHOWED UP (2008) – Commissioned by Anne-Marie McDermott[10]

Song cycles[edit]

  • Noite Fria, Commissioned by DavidMichael Schuster & Peter Fletcher (Amocanti) – Lyrics by Daniel Basilio
  • The Four Elements – For piano & soprano – Commissioned by soprano Nihan Devecioglu 2010 – Lyrics by Daniel Basilio
  • Love, All That It Is – 2008
  • Confessions – For soprano, piano, violin & cello – Commissioned by Carnegie Hall, 2007[11]


  1. ^ a b es:Anexo:Premios Grammy Latinos 2009
  2. ^ "Nss Music Artists". Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  3. ^ "Home". NCCO. Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "Where Composers Lend Their Voices". The New York Times. 18 June 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Latin American Pomp and Syncopation". The New York Times. 12 April 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  7. ^ "The orchestra in Assad 'Violin Concerto'". philly-archives. Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "Clarice Assad "Ciranda, Classicas Cantigas" – American Composers Alliance". Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  9. ^ "duodeste1". Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  10. ^ "Adventures in Piano, Haydn to Tatum". The New York Times. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  11. ^ "Singers and Composers in a Stylistic Mix and Match". The New York Times. 17 April 2007. Retrieved 26 December 2015. 

External links[edit]