“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 his compositions in many of the US’s best venues. He blends two genres, jazz and classical, and 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 decided to dedicate 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.
Peñas creates 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 merges 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 around the world. 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 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, Chicago’s Old Town, Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia Museum of Art, BAMcafé, BargeMusic, and Burlington Jazz Festival, VT. In Cuba, he has performed at Teatro Martí and the International Jazz Plaza Festival. Additionally, he performs in clubs on the east coast, such as The Sidedoor, Blue Note, 55 Bar, Bar Next Door, and while in Europe, he performs at the Parisian Duc Des Lombard jazz club and the Concert Hall Jamboree in Barcelona.
Reflecting on his unique cultural prestige, Peñas has received the ASCAP Plus Award every year from 2012 through 2018. An alumnus of both the Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory and a member of ASCAP, Local 802, LARAS and NARAS, and Fractured Atlas, he currently teaches privately.