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Fulbright scholar to study jazz at Queens College

Queens College’s renowned music program is getting a little Spanish flair.

Recently selected as a Fulbright scholar for music, Lluis Capdevila selected Queens College’s Aaron Copland School of Music to pursue his master’s degree in jazz performance.

The 27−year−old jazz pianist is now a resident of Flushing. Capdevila’s living expenses and tuition will be covered by the Fulbright Scholarship Program, which brings citizens of other countries to the United States for master’s degree or doctorate study at universities or other appropriate institutions.

A native of Falset, a village in Spain, Capdevila said the choice to come to Queens to further his musical vision was an easy one.

“The campus is relaxed and comfortable, which is ideal for focusing and creating music,” Capdevila said. “It is also close to Manhattan, which is probably the best place in the world for jazz music.”

Capdevila said music always came naturally to him. As early as 6, he said, he began writing his own melodies and was able to reproduce pop standards like The Beatles’ “Yesterday” from memory.

“It was fun and effortless,” he said. “I always knew that music would be my life.”

He added: “My biggest inspiration has been nature. While growing up in Falset, a small village in the Catalan countryside, and spending summer vacations in Tarragona near the Mediterranean Sea, I was able to observe and listen to nature’s sounds.”

Though music runs in his family — his grandmother was also a professional pianist — Capdevila took an unorthodox step when he entered college, earning his undergraduate degree in law.

He said it seemed like the right fit at the time, but ultimately his true passion for the piano took over.

“I was convinced that it would help me better understand our society and develop certain skills that would be valuable in the arts field,” he said. “In the end, though, I felt that music ultimately provided the best instrument to be creative and communicate.”

The Aaron Copland School of Music is one of the premier programs at Queens College and features a heralded faculty that includes jazz legend Jimmy Heath.

Graduates of the jazz program include Antonio Hart, an associate professor at Queens College, who has received the college’s Louis Armstrong Innovative Artist Award, a Grammy Award nomination, and performed on three Grammy Award−winning CDs.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

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