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Five possible paths for pianist Brenda Greggio

Young Lions alum prepares to make her move

Brenda Greggio, from classical to jazz to New York City.
Brenda Greggio, from classical to jazz to New York City.

Pink Trio pianist Brenda Greggio first caught my ear back in 2017, when she joined trumpeter and educator Gilbert Castellanos’ Young Lions Jazz Conservatory. She was coming from the world of classical music, but she had been learning jazz since she was 9 or 10. By 13, she could already play a blistering version of the Chick Corea tune “Spain.” Castellanos predicted that she’d be filling the piano chair for his advanced ensemble within the year, and that guess proved most prescient.

Now, five years later, Greggio is finishing up her senior high school year at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts in Paradise Hills. She’s already gigging around town as a bandleader, and she recently traveled to the east coast, where she spent a week and a half auditioning for five of the most noteworthy music schools in the United States.

Visiting in-person helped clarify her impressions of the various institutions. “When I first started thinking about college, The Manhattan School of Music was always my number one choice. I know a lot of people there, and I can tell they really enjoy it. Plus [trumpeter] Ingrid Jensen is the director of the jazz department, and I like that there’s a woman in charge. I met some of the other faculty and did my audition, and it was a really positive experience.” Happily, she was accepted, and plans to attend in the fall.

Although much remains undecided, she’s optimistic about her post-San Diego plans. “So in the next few years while I’m in college, first of all, I hope to learn a lot about being in the music industry, meeting new people, and making connections, of course. I also want to become more myself. I’m really excited after college to do some traveling, and then I’d like to become a teacher, a music teacher of some sort. And keep playing, of course.”

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Brenda Greggio, from classical to jazz to New York City.
Brenda Greggio, from classical to jazz to New York City.

Pink Trio pianist Brenda Greggio first caught my ear back in 2017, when she joined trumpeter and educator Gilbert Castellanos’ Young Lions Jazz Conservatory. She was coming from the world of classical music, but she had been learning jazz since she was 9 or 10. By 13, she could already play a blistering version of the Chick Corea tune “Spain.” Castellanos predicted that she’d be filling the piano chair for his advanced ensemble within the year, and that guess proved most prescient.

Now, five years later, Greggio is finishing up her senior high school year at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts in Paradise Hills. She’s already gigging around town as a bandleader, and she recently traveled to the east coast, where she spent a week and a half auditioning for five of the most noteworthy music schools in the United States.

Visiting in-person helped clarify her impressions of the various institutions. “When I first started thinking about college, The Manhattan School of Music was always my number one choice. I know a lot of people there, and I can tell they really enjoy it. Plus [trumpeter] Ingrid Jensen is the director of the jazz department, and I like that there’s a woman in charge. I met some of the other faculty and did my audition, and it was a really positive experience.” Happily, she was accepted, and plans to attend in the fall.

Although much remains undecided, she’s optimistic about her post-San Diego plans. “So in the next few years while I’m in college, first of all, I hope to learn a lot about being in the music industry, meeting new people, and making connections, of course. I also want to become more myself. I’m really excited after college to do some traveling, and then I’d like to become a teacher, a music teacher of some sort. And keep playing, of course.”

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