April 2010, Volume 14, Number 2

Cultural Spotlight

MDC presents jazz bass star Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding with her bass
Esperanza Spalding

Before Esperanza Spalding caught the attention of singer/songwriter Stevie Wonder, and later President Barack Obama, she was a precarious five-year-old learning to play the piano and violin after watching renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma perform on Sesame Street.

Spalding earned a spot in a magnet program in her native Portland, which provided formal music training and introduced her to the double bass, an instrument to which she felt an instant connection.

This gave her the opportunity to hone her skills and play with seasoned jazz musicians. It also paved the way for an amazing opportunity to attend the acclaimed Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she later became the youngest faculty member.

Today Spalding is better known internationally as a bass-playing prodigy, vocalist and composer in the world of jazz. Last year she was invited to perform twice at the White House and has been a guest on the David Letterman Show.

As a young musician who benefited from educational opportunities, it is fitting that Spalding would come to Miami Dade College, the largest and most diverse higher learning institution in the country, to play the last show of its acclaimed Cultura del Lobo Performance Series.

Spalding will be performing selections from her new album, Esperanza, this month at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach. In addition, she will present master classes and workshops for MDC students during her weeklong stay in Miami.

For two decades, Cultura del Lobo (Culture of the Wolf) has been introducing Miami audiences to fresh, groundbreaking work from around the world. Past performers include Branford Marsalis, Inbal Pinto Dance Company, Marc Bamuthi, McCoy Tyner, and Paquito D’Rivera.

To learn more about the Series or to purchase tickets, please call 305-237-3010 or visit www.mdc.edu/culture.

— SA

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
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Office of Equal Opportunity Programs/ADA Coordinator/Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577.