José Manuel Garcia, born in Caracas, Venezuala, graduated from Emil Friedman Conservatory in 1992. He received his BM in piano performance from Clayton State College. While at Clayton, he studied with George Lucktenberg and Michiko Otaki. Mr. Garcia earned his Master of Music in piano performance from Georgia State University in 2001, while a student of Geoffrey Haydon. Mr. García holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Georgia, from the piano studio of Evgeny Rivkin. His prizes include the Spivey Foundation Scholarship, the 1991 Harriet Serr Piano competition, the second prize at the 1994 Moisés Moleiro National Piano competition, the 2004 UGA Franz Liszt Award, the Madge Johnson Weir Award at the 2005 Beethoven Club International Piano Competition, and fourth finalist at the 2011 Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition.
Mr. García is also actively involved as a jazz pianist in Atlanta and throughout the United States. He has performed with internationally acclaimed artists such as Michael Philipp Mossman, Ray Vega, Bill Summers, Kemba Cofield, Jennifer Holliday, El “Cano” Estremera, Luisito Rosario, Paquito Guzmán, Anthony Cruz, Willie González, Tito Rojas, Marlon Fernández, Oswaldo Román, Darmon Meador, Joe Jennings, Ilona Knopfler. Luisito Carrión, Ignacio Berroa, María Teresa Chacín, y Juan Carlos Salazar. Mr. García is a founder of International Groove Conspiracy, an Atlanta-based jazz trio which received great reviews by giants in the industry such as pianists Ahmad Jamal and Chucho Valdés, while also performed at major venues in the nation, including the Atlanta Jazz Festival, the Montreaux Jazz Festival, The National Black Arts Festival, the Rialto Center for the Arts, Callawolde Fine Arts Center, Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre, and the Blue Note in New York City.
José Manuel has recorded several projects, both as leader and collaborator. In 2005, International Groove Conspiracy´s album Beyond Horizon was released and received great reviews nationally and internationally. He also recorded with Brazilian artist Guilherme Lacerda’s record Ponto de Vista (2008) and Venezuelan singer Eric Casal’s project Canto a tí (2010). Mr. García’s latest CD, Cruz del Ávila, realeased in December 2010, is a solo piano project, in which giant Ahmad Jamal describes José Manuel pianism as “sensitive and brilliant.”