FETA at The Miami Children’s Museum presents multi-instrumentalist Damian J. Sanchez.
Damian J. Sanchez began his musical journey at the age of 12 when he arrived in Miami’s Little Havana in 1992 and enrolled in the New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida. Beginning with the oboe and guitar and the following year adding the piano to his growing interests, Damian (with brother Kosme on trumpet), studied under Jon A. Hamm and Carlos Perez for his first 3 years of music. Another of his early influences was his school principal Victor Lopez, trumpeter for the Miami Sound Machine. Damian’s efforts were quickly rewarded and his talent affirmed when at the
age of 14 he won the 1995 Dade County All-County piano competition. Damian continued to compete and between 1996-1999, finished in the top 3 of the Miami all-city competition, the Orange Bowl Honor Band competition, and the Florida All-State competitions on oboe. In 1997 Sanchez began playing flute and saxophone when he became obsessed with American jazz/rock fusion: “My first CD was of the Beatle’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Band. Then I jumped to Jaco Pastorious and Weather Report, all of a sudden jazz and rock became my drug, it was all I needed to escape the harsh realities of my humble surroundings…”
Finishing high school with a 4.0 and placing in the top 10 from a graduating class of 2300, allowed him not only entrance but scholarship opportunities to several institutions such as: University of Miami, Berklee College of Music, NYU, DePaul, The American Conservatory in Paris, France among others. Damian was also recipient of several privately owned scholarships including the National Hispanic Scholarship fund and “Nuestro Orgullo” Cuban-American fund. Despite all these opportunities, Sanchez wanted to travel as much as possible and to some day produce his own sound. The one position that allowed him to do just that and continue college at the same time was entrance into the U.S. Marine Corp Band. Sanchez auditioned on the oboe and was immediately accepted. Unfortunately, weeks later after the physical examination given to all applicants in the armed forces, asthma was detected which cancelled his entrance into the military. By this point in time all scholarship opportunities had expired and Damian began searching for other options. It was then in a practice room session that Sanchez met Dr. Daniel F. Ross, professor of oboe at the Arkansas State University School of Music. Dr. Ross was attending a double reed convention in Florida and after hearing a sample of abilities, offered Sanchez a late entrance and full tuition grant to ASU.
Sanchez pursued his Bachelor of Music in Performance at ASU and left all friends and family in Miami. He taught himself clarinet and piccolo on the marching band field and studied the rest of the woodwinds including English horn at school. Sanchez also was hired as a resident assistant at ASU and was extremely successful in that light receiving the coveted R.A. of the Year award 2003 and the lifetime achievement appointment after being promoted to assistant Hall Director 2003. Through this position in student life on campus is that Sanchez developed tremendously as a musician meeting exchange students from all continents of the world and learning all their music. Students from Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Japan, Colombia, New Zealand, Germany, Argentina, Nepal, and so on. Strong ties were created which are evident in much of Sanchez’s playing to this day. On May 7th, 2004 Damian J. Sanchez was granted a Bachelor of Music with Honors/ Cum Laude from ASU. Graduate assistantships from all over the US and abroad were offered including: Loyola University, New Orleans, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Ohio, and Roosevelt University, Chicago. Sanchez by now had studied oboe, flute, and saxophone for four years at the college level. Due to a number of performance projects developing Sanchez accepted the offer made by the University of Memphis School of Jazz Performance. In May 2006, Damian J. Sanchez completed his Master of Music degree from the University of Memphis presenting two seperate recitals on oboe and jazz woodwinds. Currently Mr. Sanchez is working on a completely original album to be released in the Fall 2007 with his contemporary ensemble MoD. In addition you can catch Damian J. on tour with the US Air Force Band of the West in Las Vegas Feb-Mar 07. Mr. Sanchez was recorded performing live New Year’s Eve in Miami, Florida with Mr. Julio Sabala’s Orquesta Scala. Damian J. wears several different hats performing with a New Orleans Funky Brass Ensemble called “Inner City All Stars” http://www.innercityallstars.com; a Miami based salsa band named “La Original de Miami”, continues to perform with Freeworld when in Memphis, Tennessee, and has an upcoming collaboration with famed latin percussionist Luis Benetti.
Most recently Damian J. spent 70 days aboard the American Queen, Delta Queen, and Columbia Queen riverboats as a house musician and received rave reviews. As of March 2009, Damian J. Sanchez has been on tour with The Glenn Miller Orchestra playing tenor saxophone in the United States, Canada, and Japan. For more current events including an upcoming album project please visit: