Alex Sipiagin

Alex Sipiagin's Biography

Alex Sipiagin was born in Yaroslavl, Russia, a provincial city known for being home to one of Russia's most famous opera singers and Sipiagin's great-grand uncle, Leonid Sobinov. At age 12, he began playing in a children's orchestra, studying under the great symphonic trumpeter and teacher, Mikhael Tsamaiev. Shortly after entering a local musical college at age 15, Sipiagin was introduced to and inspired by what few taped jazz recordings were available in Russia of jazz music, and later auditioned for and was accepted into the Moscow Music Institute where he combined classical and jazz studies. At 19, Sipiagin served the mandatory 2 years in the Russian army and then continued his music studies at the Gnessin Conservatory in Moscow.

In 1990, Sipiagin won first place in a Russian young jazz players competition in Rostov City and visited the U.S., performing with a Russian student jazz band at the Corpus Christi Jazz Festival in Texas. Catching the attention of many, he was invited to participate in the International Louis Armstrong Competition sponsored by the Thelonius Monk Institute in Washington D.C., where Sipiagin placed 4th and was presented a trumpet by the legendary Clark Terry.

In 1991, Sipiagin moved to New York City in pursuit of jazz, snagging his first jazz gig in 1992 playing every Monday night at Sweet Basil with the Gil Evans Band directed by Miles Evans, later becoming a member of Gil Goldstein's Zebra Coast Orchestra. In 1994, Sipiagin joined the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band while also performing with drummer Bob Moses' band, Mozamba. Trumpeters Earl Gardner and Randy Brecker introduced Sipiagin to the Mingus Big Band in 1995, as well as the Mingus Dynasty and Mingus Orchestra. He has been a member of Dave Holland's band, Michael Brecker's Quindactet and Sextet, and has performed and recorded with Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Aaron Neville, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Kenny Werner, Elvis Costello, Michael Franks, Dave Sanborn, Deborah Cox, legendary producer Phil Ramone, among many others. Many of the recordings are Grammy winners.

As a soloist, Sipiagin has 16 recordings under his own name, and he has toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and Russia. His album Destinations Unknown placed in DownBeat's 77th Readers' Poll, the same poll in which he is listed as a “Best Trumpet”. He was also designated a “Rising Star” in DownBeat's Critics' Poll. Sipiagin is a co-leader of the critically acclaimed quintet Opus 5, co-led with Seamus Blake, David Kikoski, Boris Kozlov, and Donald Edwards.

Sipiagin has become known not only for his prowess on the horn, but also for his compositions and arrangements. The Dave Holland Octet recorded Sipiagin's "Wind Dance" on the Pathways recording. In addition, the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band has recorded several of his tunes. Sipiagin's tunes and arrangements have been performed with the Millennium Jazz Orchestra in Holland, the NY Youth Jazz Orchestra at Symphony Space, Swiss Jazz Orchestra, Kansas University Big Band, and many others, often with Sipiagin as their guest soloist.

Since 2007, Sipiagin has been teaching as part of a special jazz program called "New York Comes to Groningen" at the Prins Claus Conservatorium in Groningen, The Netherlands. A Yamaha Artist, Sipiagin is also an educator, conducting numerous clinics at various universities and schools.

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Alex Sipiagin