Discipline: Music Composition

Marta Sánchez

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2017, 2021

Born and raised in Madrid, Spain, pianist and composer Marta Sánchez is actively working in the contemporary creative music scene in New York City and around the globe. Charting a significant path through her innovative and original music, she has reached an international audience, gaining significant global recognition.

After finishing her classical training at the Conservatory, she began her academic training in jazz and contemporary music at School of Music Populart, earning a grant from A.I.E. (Spanish Association of Musicians.) The first band she created, Zafari Project, was selected by the Spanish agency for youth (INJUVE) as one of the most promising on the Spanish scene, giving them the opportunity to tour Spain playing in different jazz festivals. This band also won first prize at the international jazz contest Debajazz, which is not the only jazz contest Ms. Sánchez won. She also was awarded the first prize at the Jazzargia International Jazz Contest with the Javier Moreno Trio and the first prize at San Martin de la Vega Jazz contest with Natalia Calderon Quartet. She is the only musician in Spain who has been selected on three occasions by AECID (government agency for international development cooperation) to represent Spain at jazz festivals in different countries around South America, Central America and Europe; with her own band on two occasions (2009, 2012) and with the Natalia Calderon Quartet (2009). In 2010, she received the “A.I.E en Ruta” Touring Grant from the Spanish Association of Musicians. In 2011, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, which allowed her to continue her studies at New York University (M.M.). During her time there, she went on an international tour in Costa Rica, where her group represented NYU at the famed Costa Rica Jazz Festival.

As a bandleader, she is currently working with her New York based quintet with respected saxophonists Jerome Sabbagh and Roman Filiu; with her band Room Tales, featuring singer Sara Serpa, and with the collaborative band “Snackasaurus Flex”, featuring Michael Attias. The quintet has released two albums: Partenika (2015) and Danza imposible (2017), with the Spanish label Fresh Sound. Both received high praise from American press. Partenika received great reviews from The New York Times, Downbeat, All Music, All About Jazz, and many more. Not only that, but the recording was selected by The New York Times as one of the 10 best albums of 2015 and it was included on the lists of the best recordings of the year from the Jazz Journalist Association, Downbeat and All Music. Danza Imposible was reviewed and highly praised by “Fresh Air”, it got 4 stars from DownBeat, an excellent review from The New York TImes, on Nate Chinen’s program at WBGO, and it was also included in some lists of the best of 2017. The New York Times highlighted Marta as an example in a year full of great projects led by women. Her new CD El Rayo de Luz will be released on November 22, 2019.

She has also released for Errabal Records: La Espiral Amarilla (2011) and Lunas, Soles y Elefantes (2008) and the work 49 Riiiing with D’Free Qi thanks to a grant by “Caja de Burgos”. As a sideman she has collaborated on many CDs with the likes of the Wing Walker Orquestra, John Blevins, Indra Rios, Crooked Trio, Afrodisian Orchestra, Talento Big Band, Doris Cales, and the Natalia Calderon Quartet among others.

She has toured the United States, Europe, South America and Central America, performing as a leader or as a sideman at prestigious venues and prominent festivals such as North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, Eurojazz in Mexico City, Eurojazz in Athens, Jazz Festival Vitoria Gasteiz, Winter Jazz Festival in New York, festivals in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Antigua, Guatemala, Festival de Jazz de Atenas, Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Santiago de Chile, and Madrid Jazz Festival, Castellón, Lleida, Málaga, including many others.

She received prizes for the best soundtrack for short film in the festivals Alcalá de Henares, Curtficcion in Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca.

In 2017 she received the prestigious grant for a residency from MacDowell, where Marta wrote prepared piano repertoire.



Marta Sánchez worked in the MacDowell studio.

Built in 1912, Pine Studio was renamed MacDowell Studio in 1943 in recognition of support from a group of Edward MacDowell’s music students. It was built as a composers’ studio and the stuccoed walls were intended to be soundproof. Like many of the studios on property, MacDowell was winterized in the 1950s when the program began welcoming…

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