Luciana Souza

2020-21 CAST Virtual Visiting Artist

Luciana Souza and Guillermo Klein join the MIT Wind Ensemble, MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, and MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble to create innovative new compositions and arrangements. Photo: James Addison.
Luciana Souza and Guillermo Klein join the MIT Wind Ensemble, MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, and MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble to create innovative new compositions and arrangements. Photo: James Addison.
Luciana Souza. Credit Kim Fox.

Brazilian-born vocalist and Grammy winner "organically crosses genre borders"

In this present moment of global pandemic, racial injustice, and the economic devastation of the cultural sector, CAST introduces a new category of appointment for 2020-21, Virtual Visiting Artists. The three distinguished artists—Don Byron, Anat Cohen, and Luciana Souza—bring breadth, scope, and energy to MIT during a period when most learning is online and remote. This new program will draw upon wide-ranging facets of their artistry and cultural heritage and bring expertise in specific musical cultures that are currently underrepresented in MIT’s curriculum.

About the Residency

As a CAST 2020-21 Virtual Visiting Artist, Brazilian-born Luciana Souza returns to MIT to lead a year-long exploration of the music of Antônio Carlos Jobim, and delve into the rich history of cross-cultural exchange that has fueled Brazilian music across genres for generations. Souza will also lead class lectures, masterclasses, small group sessions, and individual lessons to enliven and enrich both the online learning and cultural lives of MIT students during this challenging time of COVID-19.

Previously, Souza and another of South America’s greatest jazz artists, Guillermo Klein, joined the MIT Wind Ensemble, MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, and MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble to create innovative new compositions and arrangements. The April 28, 2017 performance represents the culmination of a semester-long collaboration between Souza, Klein, and three MIT student ensembles. The evening’s highlight was the world premiere of Works on Hope, a newly commissioned work by Klein for Souza and the MIT Wind Ensemble under the direction of Fred Harris. Also performing with Souza and Klein was the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble and the MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble, which focused their entire spring semester repertoire on music composed or performed by Souza.

Public Events

Upcoming Events

The Musical Worlds of Antônio Carlos Jobim
Luciana Souza leads a six-part seminar exploring the music of Antônio Carlos Jobim, delving into the rich history of cross-cultural exchange that has fueled Brazilian music across genres for generations.

Sessions will be streamed live on Zoom here
Please register in advance

Session 1: Brazil and the making of Antonio Carlos Jobim
Friday, September 25, 2020 / 1-2pm

Session 2: Early influences and early work
Friday, October 16, 2020 / 1-2pm

Session 3: The birth of Bossa Nova
Friday, November 6, 2020 / 1-2pm

The final three sessions will take place in Spring 2021. Sign up here to be notified when the spring schedule is announced. All of the sessions do build on each other, so attending all six is recommended, but drop-ins are also welcome.

Class Visits

Luciana Souza will be visiting the following classes. Some will be open to listeners, so if you are part of the MIT community and are interested in attending (muted, to allow the students to participate more fully), please contact sbwilson@mit.edu for more details.

MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble: Efficient Practice for Singers
Thursday, September 17, 2020 /  7-8:30pm

MIT VJE: Wordless Singing
Thursday, October 15, 2020 / 7-8:30pm

World Music: Overview of Brazilian Rhythms and Styles 

Rhythms of the World  

MIT VJE: Brazilian Composition Workshops

Class visits during the spring 2021 semester will be announced later in the fall.  


Past Events

Composer Forum: Guillermo Klein and Luciana Souza
April 26, 2017 / 5:00pm
Lewis Music Library, 14E-109

Concert
Works on Hope—Luciana Souza & Guillermo Klein with the MIT Wind Ensemble, MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, and MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble
April 28, 2017
8:00pm Concert
7:30pm Pre-Concert Talk
Kresge Auditorium, W16
48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

Part of ArtWeek 2017

The concert included a new work for Luciana Souza and the MIT Wind Ensemble, composed by Guillermo Klein based on poetry chosen by Klein.

Two of South America’s greatest jazz artists, Luciana Souza and Guillermo Klein, joined the MIT Wind Ensemble, MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, and MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble in creating innovative new compositions and arrangements. The performance will represent the culmination of Klein’s and Souza’s MIT residency and a semester-long exploration of their music by the three MIT student ensembles. The evening’s highlight was the world premiere of Works on Hope by Klein for Souza and the MIT Wind Ensemble under the direction of Fred Harris. During the 7:30pm pre-concert ArtWeek talk, VJE director Liz Tobias and select MIT students discussed collaborating with Souza and Klein, the rationale behind the project, and the challenges and rewards of developing new works remotely and onsite with guest artists.

Collaborators at MIT

Genevieve Dempsey, Lecturer in World Music in Music and Theater Arts

Laura Grill Jaye, Director of the MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Frederick Harris, Director of the MIT Wind Ensemble and the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble and a Lecturer in Music in Music and Theater Arts

MIT Wind Ensemble

MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble

Leslie Tilley, Associate Professor, MIT Music and Theater Arts

Evan Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music in Music and Theater Arts and the Faculty Director of the MIT Center for Art, Science and Technology

Biography

Brazilian-born vocalist and Grammy winner Luciana Souza is a major figure in the worlds of vocal jazz and Latin music. She has recorded with Klein, Herbie Hancock, Paul Simon and James Taylor, among others. Argentinian composer-pianist Guillermo Klein is celebrated across the globe for his compositions and recordings with his ensemble Los Guachos. His work has been highly praised in The New York Times, DownBeat and Jazziz. He serves on the faculty of the Sibelius Academy and the Jazz Schule Basel.

Grammy Award winner Luciana Souza is one of Jazz’s leading singers and interpreters. Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Souza’s work transcends traditional boundaries around musical styles. Entertainment Weekly writes, “Her voice traces a landscape of emotion that knows no boundaries.” Souza has been releasing acclaimed recordings since 2002—including her six Grammy-nominated records, Brazilian Duos, North and South, Duos II, Tide, Duos III, and The Book of Chet. Her latest offering, Speaking in Tongues, is a brilliant collaboration with Lionel Loueke, Gregoire Maret, Massimo Biolcati and Kendrick Scott. Souza has been a prominent soloist in important works by composers Osvaldo Golijov, Derek Bermel and Patrick Zimmeri, performing with the New York Philharmonic, the Atlanta Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the American Composers Orchestra.

She began her recording career at age three with a radio commercial. She spent four years on faculty at Berklee College of Music, where she received a Bachelor’s in Jazz Composition. Souza earned a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from the New England Conservatory of Music and taught for four years at Manhattan School of Music. She has twice been named Best Female Jazz Singer by the Jazz Journalists Association, in 2005 and 2013.