Originally from San Jose, California, percussionist Sylvia Cuenca’s first significant musical experience was performing and recording with the San Jose City College Big Band. Moving to New York City, she studied privately with Victor Lewis and Keith Copeland, and soon became an active and
vital presence on the New York scene.
Her list of credits is enormous, covering all aspects of the Jazz milieu
while working with greats like Gary Bartz, Stan Getz, Billy Taylor, Al
Grey, Frank Wess, Jimmy Heath, Helen Merrill, Joshua Redman, Red
Holloway and many more.
Since 1987, Ms. Cuenca has toured extensively throughout the United
States and Europe with Joe Henderson, including performances at the Taxi
International Jazz Festival in Milano, Italy, the Brecon Jazz Festival
in England, the Viersen Jazz Festival and the Burhausen Jazz Festival in
Germany, as well as many concerts in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Austria,
Belgium, England, Switzerland and France.
Most recently, she has been performing extensively as a member of
trumpet legend Clark Terry’s quintet, performing annually at New York’s Blue
Note and Village Vanguard, as well as clubs, concerts, festivals and Jazz
cruises throughout the world.
An excellent educator as well, Ms. Cuenca has provided clinics and
workshops at various colleges and universities in the U.S. and Europe,
and has been a staff member of the Stanford Jazz Workshop in Stanford,
California since 1985.
A two time National Endowment of the Arts performance grant recipient,
she was also a semi-finalist in the 1992 Thelonious Monk International Jazz
Drum Competition. Ms. Cuenca can be heard on recordings by Ted Curson,
Clark Terry, Ron McClure and the Vienna Art Orchestra, as well as on
'The Crossing,' her first recording as a leader.