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Artist Spotlight | Julian Velasco


In celebration of Cedille’s upcoming album release, As We Are, we are proud to feature saxophonist Julian Velasco, winner of Cedille’s first Emerging Artist Competition, in our Artist Spotlight series, where Chicago’s classical artists discuss the music important to them.

From Julian: As We Are is the result of a powerful moment of realization I experienced last year. For years, I struggled to fit neatly within a singular description of myself. There are a multitude of identifiers that I ascribed to myself saying, “My identity is a mixture of American, Canadian, and Mexican cultures… classical, jazz, and popular musical backgrounds.” However, this list of (well-intentioned) labels felt reductive at best, exclusionary at worst. I frequently found myself unable to answer convincingly the question, “Where do I fit in?” In April 2021, I watched my friend Steven Banks premiere his new work, Come As You Are. In his performance notes, he shared his thoughts about accepting his own plurality as a form of strength and opportunity. That performance and those notes brought me considerable affirmation in my own journey towards individuation. Subsequently, it inspired this collection of music celebrating plurality rather than dividing and isolating personal and musical identities, culminating in a collaborative work that celebrates us as we are.

Julian expands on inspiration for his debut solo album in the video below.

As We Are is now available to order. To learn more about the project and purchase, click below.


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