Donald Vega was trained classically in piano in his native Nicaragua. He emigrated to the United States at age 14 and found a musical home with the Colburn School of Performing Arts (CSPA). He began his studies there in classical piano with Teresa de Jong Pombo and Dr. Louis Lepley. Vega began learning the language of jazz from mentor Billy Higgins at The World Stage and continued at CSPA with Jeffrey Lavner, then later with bassist John Clayton at the University of Southern California. During his time in Los Angeles Donald was mentored by and performed with the celebrated conguero Francisco Aguabella as well as notable bassist Al McKibbon. He went on to graduate from Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School where he studied with piano great Kenny Barron, Phil Markowitz and Gary Dial.
Vega currently performs internationally as the pianist for world renowned bassist Ron Carter’s Golden Striker Trio with whom he has recorded several albums. Mr. Vega is also a professor at The Juilliard School and Hofstra University and sits on the board of BackCountry Jazz, a non-profit organization which provides music education programs and performances to underprivileged youth.
Vega’s debut album, Tomorrows, was released in 2008 to rave reviews. In his sophomore album, Spiritual Nature (Resonance Records, 2012), he was joined by the regal rhythm tandem of bassist Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash. Vega teamed up again with Lewis Nash on his third album, With Respect to Monty, (Resonance Records, 2015) along with Hassan Shakur, the great bassist and former Monty Alexander band member, and long time friend and grammy nominated artist, Anthony Wilson on guitar. Donald recently finished recording his latest album, As I Travel, with Lewis Nash on drums and John Patitucci on bass and featuring Luisito Quintero on percussion.