“Peñas offers a lithe, sparkling solo that displays his deep affection for the music” Jazziz magazine.
“Peñas’ focus on making good heartfelt music is a breath of fresh air.” JazzTimes
Oscar Peñas uses his unique skills to arrange, produce, and perform compositions in many US best venues. He blends two genres, jazz and classical, using non-traditional instrumentation in either style, outlining his compositions’ unique sound.
Peñas was born in Barcelona. His family loved traditional, folk, and flamenco music. His maternal grandfather was a trumpet player who occasionally played with Xavier Cugat’s orchestra in town. Peñas’ first studies were devoted to classical music. Still, he later developed a fascination with jazz and dedicated his career to this American genre. He lives in New York with his wife. This decision led to this moment in his musical career, a road that crosses cultures and creative ideas, the primary genre melded by different grooves. His projects speak to this; Peñas has expanded his focus to incorporate diverse rhythms and styles, creating extraordinary musical experiences that enrich lives and empower individuals through collaboration, innovation, and a passion for artistic excellence. His intuition and ear drive him to an amalgam of melodies that aim for the unexpected and merge multiple music styles that do not cohere to a single signature style. “I consider myself a multifaceted musician; in my original compositions, ideas and references float freely. I like the mixture of multiple cultures that may seem incongruous as I move fluidly between different traditional genres. I take inspiration from life and pick up energy from my surroundings.”
Since the early 2000s, he has performed, taught, and recorded worldwide. He is passionate about community outreach, teaching clinics, and masterclasses to impoverished children invited by Danilo Perez’s Foundation, Panama City, and FeduJaz, in the Dominican Republic.
As a performer, Peñas has released four jazz albums with Grammy winners Esperanza Spalding, Gil Goldstein, and Paquito D’Rivera. His late recording includes legendary bassist Ron Carter, and it is not released yet. He regularly performs his originals in venues across the US, including BAM Next Wave Festival, Aaron Davis Hall (City College New York), Cabaret Theater at the Jazz Appreciation Month Series by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the Mansion at Strathmore Performing Art Center, Kennedy Center, Atlas Performing Arts Center, the Decatur House (the National Center for White House History), Jazz at Lincoln Center at Dizzy’s Jazz Coca-Cola Club, Chicago’s Old Town, Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia Museum of Art, BAMcafé, BargeMusic, Burlington Jazz Festival, VT. In Cuba, he has performed at Teatro Martí and the International Jazz Plaza Festival. Additionally, he performs in jazz clubs, such as The Sidedoor, Blue Note, 55 Bar, Bar Next Door. His European presentations include; the Canaria i Más International Jazz Festival, Jazz á Juan Festival, Parisian Duc Des Lombard jazz club, and the Concert Hall Jamboree in Barcelona.
Reflecting on his unique cultural prestige, Peñas has received the South Arts Organization, Jazz Road Grant in 2022, the Mid Atlantic for the Arts, USAI grant 2021 and the ASCAP Plus Award from 2012 through 2022. An alumnus of both the Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory and ASCAP, Local 802, LARAS and NARAS, and Fractured Atlas member, Oscar currently teaches privately.