- JAZZ IMPROV MAGAZINE
"Vibrant, gear-shifting...a charismatic singer " - The New York Times
"...Clarice Assad sings with intonation as precise as any digital device. She improvises cascading scales that take on sparkling lives of their own."
- TUCSON CITIZEN
"a veritable musical dynamo"
- SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE
"Dazzling Vocal Soloist"
- LA TIMES
"Clarice Assad is quite simply a phenomenon who has streaked across the world’s musical landscape like one of those comets that appears just once in a lifetime" - LATIN JAZZ NETWORK
"… a talent quite beyond compare. " - ALL MUSIC GUIDE
"One of Brazil's Brightest Young Composers " - Gramophone
"A Fine, fresh singer and pianist who is also a first rate story-teller " - Jazz Times
"She negotiates the line between chamber jazz and classical music with the subtlest applications of her native rhythms. " - The Chicago Reader
"A Serious Triple Threat. " - San Francisco Chronicle
"A Veritable musical dynamo. " - San Francisco Classical Voice
"A Talent Quite Beyond Compare. " - ALL MUSIC GUIDE
Vigorous, fresh and totally unique composing voice - Mandolin Moments
"A virtuoso at the piano and the vocal cords - a classically trained natural talent, whose charismatic voice lifted all the brilliant vocal elements of meditative pleasure. " - UNT.SE
"Her multi-faceted talent uncontainable as she energetically bends music to her will and reshapes it with fascinating results " - JAZZ IMPROV MAGAZINE
"But it was Assad who won the audience, which demanded and received an encore, leaving everyone spellbound."- By David Hendricks San Antonio Express News | Arts San Antonio
RICHARD NILES & BANDZILLA: BANDZILLA RISES (Bandzilla Records)
"... one of the highlights is the unaccompanied group vocal introduction to Tip For A Toreador... Clarice Assad later follows her lead with one of the more surprising solos. (Dave Jones)
"Clarice Assad has been a stalwart presence throughout Salerno-Sonnenberg’s tenure — she was the first composer to be selected for highlighting, and she continued over the years to contribute a wealth of ingenious arrangements of other music for the ensemble. A movement from her “Impressions” sent a simple theme winningly around the orchestra, giving each instrumental section a chance to interpret it in a different way." SF Gate
Terra Brasilis (2012)
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"O concerto iniciou-se com a estreia da encomenda que a Osesp fez à compositora Clarice Assad, Terra Brasilis – Fantasia sobre o Hino Nacional. Clarice conta, no texto impresso na revista Osesp, que a Fantasia é toda baseada em fatos relevantes da história do Brasil, quase como um programa. Multifacetada, rica em cores e com bonitos trechos líricos, a música atravessa diversas atmosferas, sempre evocando motivos de nosso hino. Bem amarrada em sua forma livre, Terra Brasilis merece ser tocada mais vezes. (Clarice Assad é filha de Sérgio Assad, um dos irmãos Assad do famoso duo de violões. Compositora, pianista e cantora, Clarice trafega com naturalidade entre o jazz e os clássicos, desenvolvendo destacada carreira no exterior, já tendo sido indicada para o prêmio Grammy por melhor composição clássica contemporânea.)"
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POMPA SEM OBVIEDADE
Osesp se apresenta na sede da Filarmônica de Berlim
DA DEUTSCHE WELLE
Antes, a abertura da noite coubera a Terra Brasilis, de Clarice Assad. Essa "fantasia sobre o Hino Nacional Brasileiro" acompanha a dupla Osesp-Alsop desde o primeiro concerto da norte-americana como diretora musical da orquestra, em março de 2012.
Em seus sete minutos de duração, a peça estabelece a compositora carioca como uma orquestradora inspirada e segura de si. A partir de um "caos primordial" (evocativo da mata tropical virgem?), ela faz emergir fragmentos da melodia de Francisco Manuel da Silva, aí as células vão se aglutinando, transformando-se em frases; ritmos populares despontam.
Cresce o temor no ouvinte mais crítico do nacionalismo compulsivo de parte da música moderna brasileira: será que a coisa vai - mais uma vez - acabar em samba? Ou numa apoteose patriótica? Alarme falso: aqui, Assad se revela também uma estrategista musical hábil: ela dá o esperado final bombástico a seu mini-poema sinfônico, mas sabendo contornar a gratuidade.
Suite Back To Our Roots (2011)
For starters, the piece presented hummable melody lines and pulsing rhythmic motifs not in easily digested song form but in an extended suite that allowed for the kind of rigorous musical development one associates with the best classical composition. Each movement, in fact, wove multiple themes into the sonic fabric, giving listeners a great deal to ponder.
Furthermore, "Back to Our Roots" lived up to its name, incorporating Middle Eastern scales and modes that pre-date what we generally define as Brazilian music today and point to the Assads' Lebanese ancestry.
There was more musical information in this somewhat programmatic work – which traced an immigrant's journey from the Middle East to Brazil – than a single hearing could absorb. But Ma, pianist Stott, the Assads and percussionist Gramley played the piece with such transparency and attention to detail that every fleet note was plain to hear, every syncopation crisply articulated. The plaintive main theme of the "Leaving" movement, the surging rhythms of "Hope" and Ma's lamenting, two-note phrases in "Saudade: Souvenir" were instantly attractive to the ear yet rich in harmonic complexity and contrapuntal technique." CHICAGO TRIBUNE READ FULL REVIEW
The Last Song (2010)
"Clarice Assad’s The Last Song, summed up the evening. That the audience didn’t seem to breathe until the final, hushed note of The Last Song had completely drifted away was magic indeed." CHICAGO CLASSICAL REVIEW
"The second encore, appropriately titled "The Last Song," was a lovely, long-phrased melody showcasing the steady shine of Ma's tone. Written by Sergio Assad's daughter Clarice, it was so spellbinding in this performance that rapt silence followed its final measure for nearly 10 seconds." INDYSTAR.COM
Danças Nativas (2009)
"Ms. Assad’s music is witty and cool, constantly inventive and always pleasing to the ear."
Glyn Pursglove, Music.Web.com
Pictures At An Exhibition (2009)
"In the end, the “Kiev Gate” — perhaps the most challenging section to follow in Ravel’s footsteps — came out the best. The full orchestra cuts out suddenly at the end of “Baba Yaga’s Hut,” leaving Mussorgsky’s solo piano to begin this movement. (Take that, Ravel!) Then comes the quiet part for string quartet; by the end, the full orchestra is accompanied sequentially by bells, tam-tam, and bass drum."
San Francisco Classical Voice
"Assad creates a wealth of textural variety from her limited orchestral resources, in part by drawing on various percussion instruments and having the pianist pluck or strum the instrument's strings. And with some judicious touching up here and there - particularly in the "Gnomus" movement, which gets some new and extra-spooky harmonies to go with its creepy glissandos - Assad puts her own stamp on the piece."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Assad had shown herself, during previous service as NCCO’s composer in residence, to be an arranger and orchestrator of great imagination, and she proved it again here. This piece was great fun, more fun than it’s probably licit to have on the anniversary of 9/11. Passages for the full ensemble — fewer of those than you might think — alternated with dips into chamber music: violin and piano, or cello (Robin Bonnell) and piano, or the slow middle section of “The Great Gate of Kiev” magically set for string quartet... In the end, the “Kiev Gate” — perhaps the most challenging section to follow in Ravel’s footsteps — came out the best. The full orchestra cuts out suddenly at the end of “Baba Yaga’s Hut,” leaving Mussorgsky’s solo piano to begin this movement. (Take that, Ravel!) Then comes the quiet part for string quartet; by the end, the full orchestra is accompanied sequentially by bells, tam-tam, and bass drum." (Show Source)
San Francisco Classical Voice
"Assad's contribution was, without a doubt, a unique one, very much in the spirit of the case I made on Friday that we should celebrate opportunities for diversity in our listening experiences. Her approach exhibited as much understanding of the original piano solo as did any of the examples that Fogelsong had presented; and many of her "coloration" decisions provided opportunities to think about sounds we thought were familiar in a new light. Whether or not this will lead to a "new tradition" in the performance of Mussorgsky's suite may be open to question; but there is no doubt that the opportunity to listen to Mussorgsky through Assad's ears was a stimulating one.(Show Source) SF Classical Music ExaminerStephen Smoliar
Jeff Kaliss, San Francisco Classical Voice
"Assad's "Dreamscapes," a 12-minute violin concerto that seeks to conjure up a sleeper's internal state, got a vivid rendition with Salerno-Sonnenberg as the tireless soloist. The music pursues a surreal jumble of moods - a burst of Expressionism, an angular nightmare waltz, an uneasy rhapsody and more - with the violin as the guiding consciousness always at the fore. Cellist Michelle Djokic made a handsome secondary contribution. May 19th, 2009
San Francisco Chronicle
When Art Showed Up (2009)
Vivien Schweitzer, THE NEW YORK TIMES
Jeff Dunn, SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE
“...Assad, a prominent figure in both jazz and classical composition, is a serious triple threat." Sept. 12th, 2008
Joshua Kosman, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
“Lushly film-score-ish, with echoes of black spirituals, dances from Brazilian salons of yore — and Vivaldi's sunshine. “ Sep. 12th, 2008
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS
"It’s good to have a recording of the NCCO’s season opener, resident composer Clarice Assad’s fine Impressions: Suite for Chamber Orchestra. Its opening theme is quite inviting, allowing more room to breathe than Piazzolla’s full-throttle assault. After the captivating second movement’s Danca Brasileira, with its echoes of Assad’s homeland, the middle movement’s lovely Slow Waltz contrasts with is grace. There’s lots of zippy energy in the challenging fourth movement Perpetual Motion, which Assad wrote to showcase what she calls in the liner notes the NCCO’s “flawless proficiency and impeccable artistry.” I couldn’t agree more."
Jason Victor Sirinus, SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE
'The five-movement piece is dynamic, fresh and sharply played."
Stewart Oksenhorn, The Aspen Times
Together is the name of the first CD recording of the New Century Chamber Orchestra under its new director, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, released on Salerno-Sonnenberg's own NSS label. This recording is an excellent opportunity to review two of the key performances of Salerno-Sonnenberg's first season with the Orchestra, the Impressions suite by Featured Composer Clarice Assad and Astor Piazzolla's The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. It also serves as an amuse-gueule prior to the beginning of the Orchestra's 2009–2010 season in about three weeks' time.
Unfortunately, I was not able to take advantage of Assad's residency with the Orchestra until the final concert of the 2008–2009 season, when I heard the world premiere of her "Dreamscapes," for solo violin (performed by Salerno-Sonnenberg) and string orchestra. In her own notes for this work, Assad wrote about its "maze of unpredictability and uncertainty;" and, while I found that maze challenging to negotiate on first hearing, I wrote at the time that it "left me both fascinated and eager to hear it again" (which I continue to regard as high praise for any new composition). Impressions is a more approachable composition; or perhaps it just was for me, because I felt that it approached the challenge of composing for an all-string ensemble in the same spirit that Benjamin Britten had brought to his early (1937) composition of variations on a theme by his teacher, Frank Bridge. Not only is the first movement of Assad's suite an explicit set of variations; but also two of her movements use forms from the Bridge variations, a waltz and a perpetuum mobile. Furthermore, like the Bridge variations, the suite concludes by reflecting back on its very opening. Most important, however, is the way in which Assad may have taken the diversity of sonorities that Britten conceived for his variations and developed a new diversity entirely of her own making.
SF Classical Music Examiner
"Selections from Pulitzer Prize winners Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and William Bolcom took pride of place at the beginning and end of the bill, and longtime collaborator Clarice Assad (contributor of many successful arrangements for NCCO) took the spotlight with "Impressions," a clever showcase"
The Bay Area Reporter
Brazilian Fanfare (2006-2008)
Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times
"Brazilian Fanfare by composer Clarice Assad,throughly delighted the senses incorporating at least five different Brazilian dance style while employing winds, brass and primitive percussion. Boisterous and filled with humor, the piece skipped merrily from one infectious rhythm and melody to the next.” June 30th, 2006
"Colorful, energetic, and eminently listenable, fusing together a multitude of musical ideas in a popular idiom. Repeated performances may well contribute to making this work a familiar concert opener. " June 30th, 2006
Mel R. Wilhoit, CSO: Finnish Fusion
Concerto For Violin & Orchestra (2004 -2006)
David Patrick Sterns, The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Receiving a standing ovation however, was the musical talent of Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg. Playing a piece specifically written for her by good friend Clarice Assad the young artist blew everyone away. Ms. Assad’s work blended classical music with chamber jazz. Setting her apart from other composers is her creative way of using native rhythm to infuse her music. Thriving on the Brazilian beats of the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Ms. Sonnenberg’s interpretation not only showed her musical depth but her onstage presence alluded a confidence felt by all."
Courtney Treadwell, inthespotlight.com
"...Assad's handling of the orchestra and solo violin displays a maturity and an innate sense of shape and balance that bodes well for her compositional career. "
Rocky Mountain News
"Assad’s "Violin Concerto" was the evening’s highlight. Romantic in temperament and tonal in harmony, the work, with its majestic fanfares and lively polonaises, paid homage to the world’s great violin concertos. Occasional jazz rhythms hinted at the composer’s Brazilian roots. This outstanding world-premiere concerto alerts us to watch for more from Assad.
Three Sketches (2006)
San Francisco Classical Voice
Glyn Pursglove, Music.Web.com
"No such problems with the multiplicity of colours in Clarice Assad’s Bluezilian. Written for the LAGQ it is a highly sophisticated mix of Brazilian and contemporary American forms, with a smoky jazz flavour."
Dan Morgan, MusicWeb.com
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Valsas do Rio (2003-09)
Classical Guitar Magazine
"A very skilled, intuitive composer"
"... The pianist, singer and composer Clarice Assad, daughter of Sergio Assad, illustrates her admirable compositional skills and ability to write knowledgeably and proficiently for two guitars in these three concert waltzes."
Classical Guitar Magazine
Songcycle: Love, All That It Is (2008)
"Brazilian composer Clarice Assad wrote a macabre yet jazzy piece about brutal civil war in El Salvador, with the composer as dazzling vocal soloist." LA TIMES
"Assad’s work hinged on a circus theme, making for vivid and delightfully expressive moments." SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE
Bachianas No 5 (2007-2013)
SFGate - Joshua Kosman
"Clarice Assad did an admirable job of translating Tchaikovsky’s rich instrumentation for this episode into strings-only resources."
"Assad’s arrangement deftly captured the best of Elgar’s lush qualities that we easily associate with the resources of a large orchestra. It was the perfect demonstration of just how great an asset NCCO is to musical life in San Francisco."
- San Francisco Classical Examiner
Mack The knife Fantasy
Salerno-Sonnenberg calls Assad “probably the greatest arranger alive today. She’s the only one I can think of who could write these kinds of arrangements. Older composers would not have had the experiences available to her generation, and her background growing up in Brazil has given her a vast scope of knowledge of musical styles; all this variety of music lives inside of her.” -
Off The Cliff
"Holy choro, Batman! What a fabulous concert, soft and sweet and warm and lovely, just like the girl from you-know-where. The music was rife with melodic invention, rhythmic energy and improvisational interplay." SMF DAILY REVIEW (DO SAVANNAH)
By Jeffrey Gantz GLOBE CORRESPONDENT AUGUST 13, 2015
"Assad is the Music Alive: New Partnerships composer-in-residence with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra. But she’s also a pianist, improviser, and singer, and she played and sang in her own 25-minute work, for which she was joined by Japanese percussionist Keita Ogawa and local outfits ZUMIX, Grooversity, and Camp Harbor View.
The title “Cirandadas” refers to a type of music and dance from northeastern Brazil. Assad described the piece as a “Japanese Brazilian orchestral samba rap”; it was all of that, with folk-like tunes, call-and-response singing, clapping and waving of hands in the air, ferocious drumming from Grooversity out front, and a dance pulse everywhere, yet it held together. The kids from ZUMIX and Camp Harbor View were more than all right, and Wilkins himself swayed to the samba beat, but Assad was the star, singing of the “fishies of the sea” and then scatting up a storm."
- BOSTON GLOBE
" a vibrant, gear-shifting fantasy on Brazilian melodies and dance rhythms. Ms. Assad, a charismatic singer, led the ensemble, with support from Keita Ogawa, a percussionist clearly versed in the nuances of the styles Ms. Assad touched on."
The NEW YORK TIMES