Biography

 

MSU HeadshotDiego Rivera has been called, “A vital, new voice on the saxophone.” In 1999, Rivera toured nationally with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra for their Big Band ’99 U.S. tour. Since, his performances have taken him throughout North America, Russia and Japan. Rivera has been teaching Jazz Studies at Michigan State University since 2002. In 2010, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Jazz Saxophone and Improvisation at Michigan State University. His Commitment to the education of young jazz musicians resulted in his appointment as Associate Conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Civic Jazz Ensembles. In 2005 Rivera was commissioned by the Center for Great Lakes Culture to compose and premiere an original jazz suite in honor of civil rights activist Dolores Huerta. In 2006, he released his first album Hercules on his own label, Rivera Records. An avid composer and arranger, Rivera has written arrangements for a number of events and concerts, most notably for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Motor City Jazz” concert, a tribute to the music and musicians of Detroit. Rivera and MSU Jazz Orchestra I under the direction of Rodney Whitaker premiered Rivera’s arrangement of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” suite in 2006 at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York City. Rivera’s arrangements can also be heard on two of The Carl Allen-Rodney Whitaker Project’s critically acclaimed Mack Avenue Records recordings entitled, Get Ready (2007) and Work To Do (2008). In the fall of 2013 he will release his second album The Contender on the D-Clef Records label. Diego is an endorser for Thomas Woodwinds Mouthpieces. In addition to his own ensemble, Rivera has toured with Juno-Award winning Canadian Vocalist, Sophie Milman, The Rodney Whitaker Quartet and the MSU Professors of Jazz. Rivera has also performed with Christian McBride, Jon Hendricks, Clark Terry, Ellis Marsalis, Jon Faddis, Jimmy Cobb, The Michael Dease Big Band, The Lincoln Center Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra and The Gerald Wilson Big Band.