Meet the Artist: Nestor Zurita

Categories: Programs

nestorNestor is an accomplished altoist, composer, educator, and social activist, with deep convictions. Born in New York, the heart of modern jazz, Nestor grew up in Quito, Ecuador. Nestor started to play the saxophone at age 15. Moved by a great desire to learn more about his mother’s Cuban heritage he traveled to Miami where, he entered Miami Dade College. Always in search for new challenges Nestor entered Manhattan School of Music where he was awarded various scholarships for his skill as a performer and improviser, where he studied under the guidance of Steve Slagel and Bobby Watson. After this he studied at The New School of Jazz. It is his conviction that music connects us all and that through its magic we can create change in the world. He believes that music is the answer, not the question.

To enrich his knowledge of improvisation and composition he has traveled across the United States, to Belgium, France, and various countries of Central and South America, playing hundreds of concerts in a wide variety of styles. His concert experience includes Jazz, Classical, Modern Music, as well as global music, playing the music of Arabia, Cuba, Brazil, India, and Morocco.

By invitation of Master Saxophonist Steve Lacy, Nestor traveled to Paris to play concerts and record music for the movie “The Life of Vincent Van Gogh.” Some of the festivals that Nestor has played at include the Brussels Jazz Festival in Belgium,  Guayaquil International Jazz Festival in Ecuador, and “Fetes De La Musique” in Paris, Quito and Miami. Maestro Zurita was also a guest artist of the University of Miami, where he performed two classical concerts with master pianist Jose Ignacio Dias.

Nestor plays and composes many genres, including classical, fusion, world music, Latin jazz, and jazz.  He is also one of the most proficient EWI (electric wind instrument) players, crushing boundaries with his creations. Most recently Maestro Zurita has been performing his music with his Jazz Trio and Latin Jazz Ensemble. Nestor Zurita successfully plays classical music as well as jazz, and feels as comfortable playing a Solo Recital as with a Symphony Orchestra.
He has returned to villages in Ecuador to play for impoverished children where he studied as a child. He has also played for President Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Nestor was the Creator and Director of the Jazz Department of the National Conservatory of Ecuador and directed the Classical Saxophone Program in that Conservatory. He has played with Steve Lacy, Jovinho Santos Neto, Omar Sosa, Chuck Bergeron, Felix Gomez, Ed Calle, among others. An avid composer, Nestor has written over three hundred pieces. In Miami he leads: Latin Jazz Ensemble; Middle Eastern Jazz Project; The Jewish Jazz Project.
Nestor is the Director of Music Without Borders, Inc.


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