School of Music Visiting Artist Series
B302, Roy O. Disney Concert Hall
Music: Three-time Grammy nominee Donny McCaslin is the leading saxophonist, composer, and soloist with 12 albums to his name. McCaslin is best known for his collaboration and friendship with David Bowie, who tasked McCaslin to work hand-in-hand on his final album, Blackstar. Raised in Santa Cruz, California, McCaslin attended Berklee College of Music, where he would go on to join the iconic NEA Jazz Master, Gary Burton’s Quintet. He has received numerous awards including being named the winner of the DownBeat Critics Poll “Rising Star” category in 2008 & 2009. Named “one of the hottest jazz tickets in the world” by AARP in 2017, recent awards include Best International Jazz Artist at the 2017 Jazz FMA Awards in London, where he shared the stage with The Rolling Stones. He was later honored with the prestigious Paul Ackett Award from the 2017 North Sea Jazz Festival. The Donny McCaslin Group has performed 80 shows on 5 continents throughout the 2016-2017 season alone supporting Beyond Now, an album comprised of two Bowie songs, covers of Deadmau5, MUTEMATH,the Chainsmokers, and origianls. The next evolution of Donny McCaslin will be documented on a new recording for Motéma Music in 2018. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.
In 1999, Florian Weber won a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston but instead decided to study mathematics, physics and biology. Years later, Florian began to study with John Taylor, JoAnne Brackeen, Paul Bley and Richie Beirach and Lee Konitz. In 2001, Florian won the Steinway & Sons prize at the Montreaux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition, the Gotrian Steinweg prize of Weimar and the first prize at the Jazz competition Monaco. With his group Minsarah and other projects, Florian has toured in America, Europe, Asia, South America, Paris and more. Today, Florian lives in Cologne, Germany and part of the year in New York which lead to his latest project “Biosphere” which was released September 2012 on Enja records. In 2013 Florian received the Echo Jazz as best national instrumentalist piano/keyboard. In January 2014 Florian was awarded the WDR Jazz Prize for Jazz Improvisation.