24/7 VALENCIA: Can you tell us about your musical training and education?
ALEX CONDE: My musical training began at home, at the age of 4, accompanying my father playing his songs, teaching me by ear how to accompany and provide the chords that the melody gives you. When I was 8 years old, thanks to my mother who decided that the best thing was to learn music formally, she signed me up for the conservatory in Valencia. During this time, I dedicated myself to improvising and playing in orchestras and arranging music for my father’s records and freelance gigs.
When I finished the conservatory I decided to study jazz formally, I went to the Liceo in Barcelona, Berklee College in Boston on a scholarship and CUNY Queens College in New York to do a master’s degree. I have been living in the USA for 12 years. Those were my formal studies, but I have learned a lot from musicians I have collaborated with like Jeff Chambers, Eddie Palmieri or John Santos among many others.
What attracts you to the piano?
The vibrations, the harmony, the subtlety… the piano is the mother instrument to compose and to understand harmony and the repertoire is immense, it is a great literature to get lost in and to which I always return when I am not composing or giving concerts.
Describe a typical year for you with respect to music…
A calendar of concerts and trips around the USA, compositions for orchestras like the Miami Symphony or the Oakland Symphony, a recording of music by Monk or Bud Powell or original compositions. Students online, a Netflix film in my apartment in Brooklyn…
How does New York compare to living and working in Valencia?
New York is speed, competitiveness, work, stress. It’s a city that puts you in your place and forces you to excel. Trains with books, talent, jazz, network…
Valencia is peace, my home, tranquility, family, good mood, quality of life.
Is there a relationship between jazz and flamenco?
They are types of music that comes from a segregated social environment, slavery or persecuted by the social, political and cultural environment. Apart from this, there is no geographical or cultural relationship.
What do these musical genres mean to you?
Flamenco fills my heart with love and sorrow. Singing, guitar, dance… Jazz enriches my spirit with colours.
Tell us something about your albums…
Well, I have recorded five albums, the first one “Jazz & Claps” fusion of flamenco and jazz with original music.
The second is an album called “Barrio del Carmen” music that I composed for flamenco dance companies with orchestra and piano as a centre.
The third was a tribute to Monk “Descarga for Monk” and flamenco and Latin jazz rhythms. The fourth was “Origins” produced by Eddie Palmieri, original music based on flamenco and jazz.
The latest one is “Descarga for Bud” a tribute to Bud Powell that will be released in 2021 or when the pandemic we are suffering from passes by. Until then, I won’t release it. These albums have as collaborations artists like Luques Curtis, Marcus Gilmore, Brian Lynch, John Benitez, Magda Giannicok, John Santos, Jeff Chambers and many other artists…
Interview by 24/7 Valencia team
Photo of Alex Conde by Vilma Dobilaité
Alex Conde, Founder & Director, Piano Flamenco Institute of New York
CCC St Veronica, 149 Christopher St, 10014 New York
275 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216
m: +1 917 979 3738
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