- Howard Reich, The Chicago Tribune
Miguel de la Cerna is a first-call music director and arranger, a prolific performer, and an influential educator, he is recognized as one of the most versatile pianists working today. A Chicago native, de la Cerna is the third generation in a distinguished lineage of Chicago piano jazz greats: his grandfather, pianist General Morgan, accompanied and recorded with both Billie Holliday and Henry “Red” Allen, and recording artist Gloria Morgan was de la Cerna’s aunt. After studies at the American Conservatory of Music and Oberlin Conservatory, de la Cerna toured the US, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia for more than a decade as pianist and conductor for various ensembles and theatrical productions before resettling in Chicago.
Theater and conducting highlights include musical direction and arrangements for international tours and productions of Bubblin’ Brown Sugar, Blackbirds of Broadway, and From My Hometown.
Known especially for his sensitive work with singers, de la Cerna tours frequently and has recorded extensively in his role as music director and arranger for vocalists Dee Alexander, Bobbi Wilsyn, and Maggie Brown, among many others. A frequent collaborator with some of the world’s most celebrated jazz masters, including Oscar Brown, Jr., Jon Hendricks, and Jimmy Heath, de la Cerna’s breadth also spans classical and world music. An accomplished composer, he has twice been commissioned by Chicago’s innovative contemporary classical quintet, the Orion Ensemble.
Miguel de la Cerna shapes a new generation of young musicians as a faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, and serves as music director for the Jazz Institute of Chicago’s eclectic JazzCity concert series, bringing jazz and world music to concert venues and neighborhoods throughout Chicagoland.
“Increasingly, de la Cerna is making a name for himself as a distinctive artist, equally comfortable playing Latin-tinged jazz, in the updated mainstream style of Michel Camilo and Hilton Ruiz, and pushing boundaries to embrace free improvisation and serial technique.”
- Orion Ensemble
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