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Program Four

About the Artists

You and your students will meet New York City–based artists who represent three different musical genres and cultural traditions; many have reinvented these deeply rooted traditions to make them their own. Together, you will learn songs and dances that you will perform along with the artists during the digital concert experience at the end of your semester.


Brianna, Jazz

Born and raised in Peoria, Illinois, Brianna Thomas made her singing debut at age six with her father’s band, performing a duet rendition of the jazz classic, “What a Wonderful World.” Since graduating college in 2011, Brianna has performed with many jazz greats including Clark Terry, Wycliffe Gordon, Houston Person, Mulgrew Miller, Wynton Marsalis, The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra, Michael Feinstein, and her longtime hero, Dianne Reeves. Brianna also continues to perform worldwide at venues such as Jazz at Lincoln Center, Smoke Jazz & Supper Club, Ginny’s Supper Club, Minton’s Playhouse, Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha, the Apollo Theater, and the prestigious Montreux, Umbria, Bern, and Sochi jazz festivals. Brianna was a 2014 musical ambassador for American Music Abroad, as a guest vocalist with The Amigos Band, singing folk, bluegrass, gospel, and jazz. She teaches with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz for Young People program to educate students in New York City schools about the importance of jazz in American history and today.

Browse Unit: Jazz with Brianna

Juan Gutiérrez and Julia Gutiérrez-Rivera

Juan and Julia, Bomba and Plena

Puerto Rican–born percussionist, composer, and arranger Juan Gutiérrez was instrumental in helping to bring bomba and plena music to New York City and the rest of the US. In 1983, he met master plena practitioner Marcial Reyes in New York; together they created Los Pleneros de la 21. Juan has remained at the helm of Los Pleneros de la 21 ever since, masterminding its ongoing success, including a 2005 Grammy nomination. For his vision and contributions, Juan was named an NEA National Heritage Fellow. Julia Gutiérrez-Rivera is Juan’s youngest daughter. As Los Pleneros de la 21 formed when she was 10 months old, Julia was weaned on bomba and plena, and is now a guiding member of the group and respected bomba and plena dancer and educator.

Browse Unit: Bomba and Plena with Juan and Julia


Fabiana, Brazilian

Fabiana Masili is a vocalist and songwriter who plays a range of Brazilian music, including bossa nova, samba, maracatu, and forró, as well as jazz and rock. Since moving to New York City in 2003, she has worked with a diverse roster of artists, including Claudio Roditi, Cidinho Teixeira, Dom Salvador, Slide Hampton, Jeremy Pelt, and Nation Beat, and created an all-female psychedelic rock band called As Lolas. She has performed at such venues as Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, SummerStage, Joe’s Pub at The Public, and Lincoln Center Out of Doors. She is also dedicated to her work as a teaching artist, sharing Brazilian music and culture with New York City’s students.

Browse Unit: Brazilian with Fabiana

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