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Bio

 

 

Nicola Corso is an international musician and educator based in New York City. His love for diversity appears throughout his compositions—with experimental sounds and cross-pollination that blur the lines between genres. He carries decades of experience in performance and teaching, and is a current member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop.

Born in Campobasso, Italy, Nicola first followed in his father’s footsteps by playing the trumpet. He trained in classical and orchestral studies until the day he discovered jazz. That moment was pivotal for Nicola, who felt that jazz carried depth and genre-bending aspects never heard before.

At age 19, Nicola picked up the electric bass and studied with some of the most renowned teachers of his region. He became an integral member of Blue Image, a band that won competitions for emerging groups in Italy. It was the beginning of a prodigious period for him, marked by a two-year residence in London and the completion of his bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in jazz.

He moved to New York City in 2015, now armed with international exposure (and an upright bass). The vibrancy of New York—with its blending and clashing of cultures—played directly into Nicola’s music. Soon, communication became a central focus. How does one create an inclusive language between diverse populations? How does music connect artist to audience?

Nicola’s current project explores these questions. With a singer and 17-piece big band dubbed the “Nicola Corso Jazz Orchestra” (NCJO), Crossroads is inspired by the Harlem community. It absorbs elements from the diverse populations and mixes them to the occasional point of conflict. Crossroads debuted in 2017 and continues to build an urban performance schedule.

For composing and arranging, Nicola gained international prestige. He won the Carl von Ossietzky Competition in 2009, which celebrated his original composition written for large ensemble (classical orchestra and big band); he was a two-time prizewinner at the Barga Jazz Festival (first in 2007 for a Kenny Wheeler dedication and then in 2012 for an original composition). He also earned honorable mention at the Ithaca College Composition Contest in 2011.

Nicola holds degrees in jazz bass performance from Benevento Conservatory of Music and in jazz composition from the Conservatory of Music, L. Perosi Campobasso. His commitment to study continues, as does his fondness for teaching. He regularly instructs groups and individuals, tailoring his approach to fit the needs of his students—and by examining their motivations, Nicola inspires their musical education.

Among future aims is to record Crossroads and write new material dedicated to his father, who was his earliest musical influence. Nicola’s approach pays homage to the past while declaring his own style—the act of creative imagination coming full-circle.

Prizes & Awards

 

 

Composition & Arranging

  • 2012 - Prizewinner, "BargaJazz 2012" International Arranging and Composition Competition for Jazz Orchestra, Barga (LU) - Italy.  XXV edition, sec. B dedicated to original composition. Orchestra conducted by Bruno Tommaso. Foreman of the jury: Mario Raja.
  • 2009 - Prizewinner, "Carl von Ossietzky - Kompositionspreis" International Composition Competition, Oldenburg - Germany. IX edition, new originals for Classical Orchestra and Big Band.
  • 2007 - Prizewinner, "BargaJazz07" International Arranging and Composition Competition for Jazz Orchestra, Barga (LU) - Italy. XX edition, sec. A dedicated to Kenny Wheeler, who performed the arrangement with the orchestra conducted by Bruno Tommaso. Foreman of the jury: Giancarlo Gazzani.
  • 2011 - Honorable Mention, "Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble" Composition Contest, Ithaca (NY) - USA. II edition, new originals for Big Band.
  • 2010 - Finalist, "ArtEZ 2010" International Composition Contest, Enschede - Netherlands. IV edition, new originals for the Millenium Jazz Orchestra, conducted by Joan Reinders.
  • 2010 - Finalist, "Jazzverk 2010" International Composition Competition, Stockholm - Sweden. XI edition, new originals for the Bohuslän Big Band, conducted by Ann-Sofi Söderqvist.
  • 2008 - Finalist, "Scrivere in Jazz" International Composition Competition, Sassari - Italy. X edition, compositions inspired by ethnic music from Sardinia, performed by Orchestra Jazz della Sardegna.
  • 2007 - Finalist, "Piacenza Jazz Arrangers" National Arranging Competition for Big Band, Piacenza - Italy. II edition, dedicated to John Coltrane.

 

Performance

  • 2010 - Prizewinner [as bass player of the BlueTime 4et], "Lucca Jazz Donna" Contest, Lucca - Italy. III edition, Italian contest for bands with female leader.
  • 2009 - Prizewinner [as bass player of the BlueTime 5et], "BargaJazz09" Contest, Barga (LU) - Italy. Section D - Bands.
  • 2008 - Prizewinner [as bass player of the Sala’s 4et], "Premio Nazionale delle Arti - Jazz" Contest, Messina - Italy. Italian prize for Conservatory students. Jury: Giovanni Tommaso, Franco D’andrea, Larry Monroe (Berklee College of Music, Boston - USA).
  • 2000 - Third prize [as bass player of the Time Up 4et], "Baronissi Jazz" Contest, Baronissi (SA) - Italy. Professional category of the well known national competition.

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