Quarteto Nuevo merges western classical, eastern European folk, Latin and jazz with an organic feel that packs a wallop! Their diverse programs fit anywhere, from an intimate chamber music venue to a large outdoor festival. The ensemble’s razor-sharp precision is enhanced by jazzy interludes, lightly rumbling percussion motifs and mesmerizing rhythms. They effectively meld the music of ancient worlds and faraway places with a contemporary groove that enchants audiences of all ages! Winners of the Beverly Hills National Auditions, Quarteto’s master musicians create emotionally-charged soundscapes with instruments and sensibilities that represent very different world cultures. Their unique instrumentation – soprano saxophone/alto flute (Damon Zick), cello (Jacob Szekely), guitar (Kenton Youngstrom) and hand percussion (Felipe Fraga) – richly colors their wide-ranging repertoire, from Heitor Villa-Lobos’ “Bachianas Brasileiras” and Chick Corea’s “Children’s Song No. 6” to Traditional Macedonian “Gadjarsko” and original works “Hector, Desmond and Titus”, “Rain Song” and “Dizer O Que”.
· Damon Zick – Soprano Saxophone woodwinds
· Kenton Youngstrom – Acoustic Guitar
· Jacob Szekely – cello
· Felipe Fraga - percussion
Damon Zick is a saxophonist, woodwind performer, composer and educator residing in Burbank, California. He was born and raised in Seattle before heading to the East Coast in 1993 to study saxophone, clarinet, composition and jazz at the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. After two years in Miami Beach where he performed and recorded with the New World Symphony, Mr. Zick relocated to Los Angeles to complete a Master’s degree in Jazz Winds from the California Institute of the Arts where he studied with Charlie Haden. Since then he has been straddling the worlds of jazz and classical music as an active freelance musician in Los Angeles. Damon’s jazz quintet “Damon Zick and Friends” has toured the U.S. extensively and released two CD’s of original compositions, “We Are Large” with Evander Music and “The Outing”. He regularly performs with world/jazz group Quarteto Nuevo, the Westland Trio, the Industrial Jazz Group, and John Tesh. In addition he has shared the stage with jazz artists such as Bob Mintzer, Vinny Golia, Joe Henderson, Joe LaBarbera, Jack Sheldon, Adam Benjamin, Larry Koonse, and Nate Wood among others. As a founding member of the Los Angeles Jazz Collective, Damon has worked hard to build a stronger jazz community in Los Angeles. He has been a featured artist at the Reno Jazz Festival, Bakersfield Jazz Festival and UW Eau Claire Jazz Festival. As a classical musician Damon has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Santa Barbara Symphony, the Ojai Festival Chamber Ensemble, and the Encore Saxophone Quartet among others. He was a featured performer on Los Angeles Opera’s Grammy winning recording of Kurt Weill: Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny. Recent solo appearances include “Bohemian Rhapsody” with MUSE/IQUE with Damon playing the part of Freddy Mercury on alto sax. This past year Damon was hired by the U.S. State Department to help adjudicate ensembles for placement into the American Music Abroad program. He is on the faculty at Cal State Fullerton as well as the Pasadena Conservatory of Music and has performed clinics and master classes at colleges and universities across the U.S.
Born in Brooklyn New York in 1979, Jacob Szekely grew up in a musical family where his talent was recognized early on. He was accepted to study classical cello performance at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy for high school before attending The Cleveland Institute of Music for his Bachelor’s Degree and The University of Southern California for graduate studies. Berklee cello professor and multiple Grammy winner Eugene Friesen has declared Jacob's playing to be to be “The first time a cellist has made the case as a leader in modern jazz!” In 2013 Jacob founded the Jacob Szekely Trio and released their debut EP which was hailed by critics from the Strad, Strings Magazine, International musician and artists from Yo-Yo Ma, and Chick Corea to Rush Bassist Geddy Lee as a "Quantum leap forward" in pushing the boundaries of the instrument. Mr Szekely is also in great demand as a sideman and session player in Los Angeles having appeared in hundreds of commercials, television shows and movie scores. Jacob has been a featured performer or solo cellist with such popular artists as Mary J. Blige, Jay Z, Ellie Goulding, Avril Lavigne and Rush and on such Television shows as Battlestar Galactica, The Walking Dead, and The Sarah Connor Chronicles to name a few. In addition to his busy schedule as a performer, Mr. Szekely is also active as a composer and arranger and has collaborated with a wide range of artists and ensembles from string quartets and world music groups to commissions for chamber orchestra and children's choir. In 2007, Jacob expanded his role as musical ambassador through the co-founding and artistic directorship of String Project Los Angeles, a music school and resource for the alternative string playing community throughout the world located in Venice California named by Strings Magazine as "One of the top 10 reasons to study music in Los Angeles" . In addition to String Project Los Angeles, Jacob has also conducted residencies and master classes across the united states at UCLA, Cal Arts, The Berklee School of Music, Oklahoma State University, Ithaca College and The American String Teachers Association’s national conference to name a few. Jacob has also served on the summer faculty of numerous summer festivals including The New Directions In Cello Festival and Christian Howes’ Creative Strings Workshop with whom he co-authored an article in the July 2012 issue of The Strad advising string teachers on how to approach improvisation.
Kenton Youngstrom, guitarist, composer, arranger and educator is the first in a long line of prize-winning students of Jim Smith at the University of Southern California, where, while earning his Bachelor's and Master's degrees, he studied composition with Donald Crockett, arranging with Darniell Pershing and film scoring with David Raksin. His eclectic performing career has taken him around the world, including appearances as a soloist with orchestra (Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, New Haven [CT] Symphony, Jacksonville [FL] Symphony, Redlands Symphony), as an orchestra member (Los Angeles Opera, Long Beach Opera), tours with the Falla Guitar Trio (Dubrovnik [YUG] Festival, Radio France [FR], Hong Kong [CN], Geneva, [CH], throughout the US, Canada and Mexico), concerts and recitals with numerous jazz notables (pianists Taylor Eigsti and Dave Brubeck, flutist Hubert Laws, bassist Putter Smith and drummer Paul Kribeck), leading an international jazz big band (Cannes [FR] Film Festival), singing and performing on vihuela with his own Mexican conjunto (Tournament of Roses Parade), and playing with the Margo Rey rock group (Nokia Theater [CA], Mahaffey Theater [FL]). Producing credits include the Falla Guitar Trio's Concord Records LP, Virtuoso Music for Three Guitars, which won a Record of the Year Award from Stereo Review magazine. Recent compositions include the score of Behind the Mask of Zorro (History Channel), Kengyadu - Three Movements for Guitar Trio and Orchestra (co-written with Gyan Riley and Dusan Bogdanovic) and Mary Pickford - A Life on Film (Milestone Films). Recent arrangements include Falla's Noches en los Jardines de España for the Falla Guitar Trio and orchestra, Corea's Children's Song No.6 for Quarteto Nuevo, Bach's Musical Offering for the Red Quartet, jazz selections for the Pasadena Jazz Orchestra and the movie 7-year ZigZag (Next Step Studios). He is on the faculty at the Colburn School of Performing Arts, Pepperdine University and Pasadena City College.
Felipe Fraga began playing percussion when he was nine years old in his hometown of Curitiba. He went on to study at the Fine Arts and Music School of Paraná (EMBAP). After moving to Chicago, Felipe quickly became one of the busiest percussionists in town. He was the featured percussionist for Robert Irving III's "Sketches of Brazil" project that debuted at Millennium Park, played prominent shows and events, including the Chicago World Music Festival and the Oprah Winfrey Show, founded and directed Unidos do Quilombo Brazilian percussion ensemble, and taught in Chicago Public Schools, the Music Institute of Chicago, Capital University's Conservatory of Music in Ohio, and DePaul University's School of Music. Since moving to Los Angeles in 2013, Felipe has performed with Ricky Martin, Aloe Blacc, recorded for Janelle Monae, Stanley Clarke, and Disney. He was hand picked by composer John Powell to record on the Rio 2 soundtrack as both a featured percussionist and vocalist.