Picture: Ania Paz by Emilio Miguel Suarez Perez
Picture: Ania Paz by Emilio Miguel Suarez Perez

Ania Paz

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Pianist and composer Ania Paz is known for her modern and driving sound, impregnated by an original new fusion of Afro-Latin styles within the Jazz language. Her international performances include the TCI San Jose Jazz Festival in California, USA; the Rencontre autour du Piano Festival in Guadeloupe, France; the Festival Internacional JazzUV in Mexico; and the Buenos Aires Jazz in Argentina.

As a composer she won the José Reyes Prize for Symphonic Composition of the Ministry of Culture of the Dominican Republic; the Festival Claro Song Competition in Lima, Peru; and the Casa de Teatro Jazz Composition Prize in Santo Domingo.

She is the leader and founder of the Ania Paz Trio in Berlin, a group with a unified vision as soloists and rhythm section that perseveres on the creation of a new sound in Contemporary Latin Jazz.

Ania Paz feels connected to universal values ​​in her work, such as bringing cultures and countries together through music and her own social responsibility. She was featured by UNESCO’s International Jazz Day for her work promoting dialogue between cultures through jazz.

FACTS

1. “Jazz music has always made powerful statements about freedom, creativity and personal identity.“ – D C DowDell

2. “The wonderful thing about Jazz is its willingness to take chances.“ – Madeleine Peyroux

3. “It don´t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.“ – Duke Ellington

QUESTIONS

1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

Inspiration can come from different places. Sometimes it comes from sounds and rhythms that I find fascinating, sometimes from nature or peaceful moments, but also from troubled experiences. There are feelings that motivate me, but also analytic ideas. I try to express my experiences in a very personal way, looking for something I have never heard before.

2. How and when did you get into making music?

I started taking piano lessons at the age of 3, and composing at the age of 6. I don’t remember my life without making music. My parents were a big inspiration, even though they are civil engineers. My mother used to play the piano when I was little and that motivated me very much. They also took us to concerts, ballet and theater performances, exhibitions, etc. I had a traditional classical education but yet very multicultural, since I studied in Latin America, Germany and the United States. But when I studied Jazz in Philadelphia I was able to find my own voice in music. It enabled me to express myself in a very creative way, and I started a path of endless possibilities.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?

Esperanza Spalding – Songwrights apothecary lab

Bill Evans – Waltz for Debby

Herbie Hancock – Gershwin World

Steve Coleman and Five Elements – Elements Def Trance Beat (Modalities of Rhythm)

Julia Hülsmann Quartet – The next door

4. What do you associate with Berlin?

Freedom, creativity, multiculturalism, vanguardism, space, nature, friendliness, interesting history with transcending facts.

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?

Schlachtensee.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

Mathematics.

7. What was the last record/music you bought?

Julia Hülsmann Quartet – The next door

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Tal Wilkenfeld.

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?

I have had many wonderful gigs, but probably the Festival Internacional JazzUV in Xalapa, Mexico. Since it was the last Jazz Festival I participated at before the pandemic, it meant a lot to me.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?

When I compose, my ideas start sometimes with and sometimes without technology, just at the piano for instance, but at some point I use softwares to recreate the whole work. Technology is specially important when I compose for big instrumentations such as Big Band and Symphonic Orchestra, since it offers the possibility to hear timbres, textures and very dense harmonies.

11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?

I have 2 sisters. One of them, Katia, is a painter, and she is very musical. I can share with her many concepts I work on. I love talking to her about music and art. My other sister Carola is also very musical, and she is a psychomotricity therapist. They are both very enthusiastic about my career. I thank very much for their support, as well as my family in general.

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