Grammy-nominated musician Clarice Assad teaches master class at Detroit School of Arts

Christopher Tiffany is the associate director of development, foundation relations at the University of Michigan School of Education.

The Detroit School of Arts is a Knight Arts Challenge winner. Through partnerships with organizations like the University of Michigan School of Education, the high school provides resources and opportunities for students to explore and excel in the fields of music, dance, visual arts, theater and broadcast media.

Clarice Assad–a Grammy-nominated composer, pianist and vocalist, and the daughter of Brazilian guitarist and composer Sergio Assad–presented a master class to more than 200 students at the Detroit School of Arts on Nov. 12.

Assad’s music has been widely commissioned by national and international orchestras, festivals and venues, such as Carnegie Hall, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and the Albany Symphony. Her works have been recorded and performed by some of the most prominent orchestras, soloists and conductors today, including Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Yo-Yo Ma, Chanticleer, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony and São Paulo Symphony. Assad holds a Bachelor of Music degree with honors from Chicago’s Roosevelt University and a Master of Music degree from The University of Michigan School of Music.

Detroit School of Arts students during Assad’s master class.

Through a partnership with WRCJ-FM Detroit public radio (whose studios are housed at Detroit School of Arts) and a collaboration with the Michigan Philharmonic, the Detroit School of Arts was able to bring Assad to the school for a special presentation of her music–a fusion of jazz, Brazilian music, soundscapes and her own unique style. During her presentation, Assad talked about her personal journey as a musician from Brazil and how she has developed her piano and vocal techniques.

She performed several of her works and conducted a variety of interactive activities with the students. These activities incorporated using the body, specifically the mouth and nose, to create different sounds at the same time. She also worked with students to explore pitch, frequency and dynamics. Assad engaged both individual students and the entire audience as part of her presentation.

Assad’s presentation was enthusiastically received by students and teachers alike. Both the Michigan Philharmonic and Detroit School of Arts were so thrilled with the workshop that discussions are already underway to bring her back in the near future.