Trained in his native Nicaragua in classical piano, Donald Vega came to the United States at age 14 and found a musical home with the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. He began his studies there in classical piano with Teresa de Jong Pombo and Dr. Louis Lepley. Vega currently performs internationally as the pianist for world renowned bassist Ron Carter’s Golden Striker Trio and has recorded several albums with the ensemble.
Vega began learning the language of jazz from mentor Billy Higgins at the World Stage and continued at CSPA with Jeffrey Lavner, then later with bassist John Clayton at the University of Southern California. He went on to graduate from Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School, where he studied with piano great Kenny Barron, Phil Markowitz and Gary Dial. Vega is also a professor at the Juilliard School and Hofstra University and sits on the board of BackCountry Jazz, a non-profit organization that provides music education programs and performances to underprivileged youth.
Vega’s debut album, “Tomorrows” (2008) was released to rave reviews. For his sophomore album, “Spiritual Nature” (Resonance Records, 2012), he was joined by the regal rhythm tandem of bassist Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash. Vega teamed up again with Lewis Nash on his third album, “With Respect to Monty” (Resonance Records, 2015), along with Hassan Shakur, the great bassist and former Monty Alexander band member, and longtime friend and Grammy-nominated artist Anthony Wilson on guitar.
Vega is working on his latest album, “As I Travel,” with Lewis Nash on drums and John Patitucci on bass and featuring Luisito Quintero on percussion. In April, Vega received a Guggenheim Fellowship to complete the recording.
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