Miguel Zenón Appointed Assistant Professor of Jazz at MIT

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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is breaking new ground in the world of jazz education by appointing renowned alto saxophonist, composer, bandleader, and MacArthur Fellow, Miguel Zenón, as its Assistant Professor of Jazz. This historic appointment marks the first time MIT has ever filled this prestigious position, solidifying its commitment to pushing the boundaries of music education.

Miguel Zenón, a multiple Grammy Nominee and recipient of Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellowships, brings an exceptional blend of innovation and tradition to the MIT Music Faculty. His career has been characterized by a relentless pursuit of musical excellence, consistently pushing the envelope in the world of jazz while drawing on a wide array of musical influences.

Zenón, who hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico, boasts a discography of sixteen recordings as a leader, including his recent release, “El Arte Del Bolero Vol. 2” (2023), as well as Grammy-nominated albums like “Música De Las Américas” (2022), “El Arte Del Bolero” (2021), and “Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera” (2019). He has collaborated with jazz luminaries such as Charlie Haden, Fred Hersch, David Sánchez, Danilo Perez, and many others.

“MIT is an incredible school with top-tier students and a creative and open-minded aesthetic,” says Zenón, “I’m extremely excited and honored to become part of the MIT family.”

Miguel Zenón Quartet | Photo by Maurits van Hout

Zenón’s contributions to the world of jazz have not gone unnoticed. He has been featured in prestigious publications like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The Chicago Tribune. Moreover, he has received numerous awards, including being named Jazz Artist of the Year and Alto Saxophonist of the Year in the 2014 JazzTimes Critics Poll and being selected as Alto Saxophonist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association multiple times.

As a composer, Zenón’s talents have been recognized by organizations such as SFJAZZ, NYO Jazz, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. He has also given lectures and master classes at institutions around the world. In addition to his role at MIT, Zenón currently serves as the Visiting Scholar for the Harmony and Jazz Composition Department at Berklee College of Music.

Miguel Zenón’s impact extends beyond the world of music. In 2011, he founded Caravana Cultural, a program that brings free Jazz concerts to rural areas of Puerto Rico. In 2022, he received an Honorary Doctorate from La Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the highest honor bestowed by the institution.

This groundbreaking appointment at MIT is a testament to Miguel Zenón’s exceptional talent and contributions to the world of jazz. It is sure to bring a new dimension to the institution’s music program and inspire future generations of jazz musicians.

More information about Miguel Zenón and his appointment can be found at the at MIT website

Last modified: September 6, 2023