Maria Alejandra Quintanilla, originally born in Lima, Peru, is a multi-award winning vocalist, composer, and producer based in the heart of New York City. Her insatiable curiosity has enabled her to perform and record in a wide spectrum of styles that range from classical to jazz, funk to pop, soul to latin. Despite her young age, Maria Quintanilla has toured all over Europe, North and South America, and has had the privilege of sharing the stage with award winning artists such as mentor Jon Faddis, John Benitez, Steve Turre and Tia Fuller, amongst others. She has been recognized as a performer with poise far beyond her years and with having an exceptional ear for raw vocal expression.
In 2013 she was an "Outstanding Musician" award recipient at the DeMiero Jazz Festival. Between 2013 and 2015 she was a leading vocalist of vocal group Pacific Standard Time who was awarded the DownBeat Music Award for "Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble" (2014) and "Outstanding Performance" (2015 & 2016) in the Graduate College category. In 2017, Maria was named the winner of the Music Category of the State University of New York's Thayer Fellowship. This exclusive award is given to no more than 3 artists out of an assembly of 500,000 SUNY students who demonstrate outstanding achievement and high professional promise in the arts.
Ms. Quintanilla keeps a regular activity as a music educator, as well as live and recording artist both with her own projects and as special guest.
Maria's debut duo album Distance Chemistry with virtuoso pianist Renato Diz was well received by crossover lovers of jazz and contemporary music. Unbound by style or instrumental limitations their debut album was built entirely upon improvised arrangements of songs that marked their musical growth during their formative years. Masterpieces like "Strange Fruit" and "Calling You" are rediscovered, deconstructed, and rebuilt with singular twists. Their original composition "Conversation II" was made into a short film under the same title and directed by Pedro Marnoto.
Ms. Quintanilla released her second album as a co-leader alongside her collaborator Renato Diz and Taiwanese multi-percussionist Sayun Chang. Together they recorded an album entitled Breathing Taiwan. This music is a unique blend of compositions that tell the compelling stories of Taiwanese tribes and traditions.
Maria graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master Degree from State University of New York Purchase, and represented Ella Fitzgerald at several performances with Purchase Jazz Orchestra under the baton of Grammy-Award winning Todd Coolman and Jon Faddis at the legendaries Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola and Blue Note NY.