Sebastian Zel

Sebastian ZelSebastian Zel (b.1996) is a composer, producer, and multi-intrumentalist, born and raised in Miami Beach, FL, now based out of New York City. He is currently a sophomore at NYU’s Steinhardt School, where he studies Composition with Ezequiel Viñao. Sebastian draws inspiration from a wide variety of music, from concert music, to contemporary jazz & free-form music, to more traditional popular music. His works maintain a perpetual interest in rhythm and its exploitation as a dramatic device, and take immense influence from the great traditions of improvisation in both the Western and Non-Western musical worlds. Beyond his focus in concert music, Sebastian works as a producer and session bassist & guitarist for countless bands and other live acts in the New York City area, a composer for several independent films, and an audio editor/archivist at Duotone Audio Group, a company in NYC that produces music for TV shows and commercials. Additionally, Sebastian serves as artistic director for Pulsing & Shaking, a two-day festival of contemporary music that focuses on works written in and about New York.
Sebastian has worked with the DeCoda ensemble, the New York Youth Symphony’s Orchestral and Jazz programs, the NYU Percussion Ensemble, the Atlantic Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, and KONTRAPUNKT.


LISTEN: Jungle Pocket for Percussion Quintet
Andrew Niess – Conductor

Jordan Brooks – Djembe
Meng-Hsuan Lin – Percussion
Noah Hadland – Percussion
Andrew Adams – Percussion
Christian Melhado – Percussion

Jungle Pocket (2015) is a one-movement work for five percussionists, inspired by two vastly different percussion traditions: that of North Indian classical music, and that of American jazz. While these two musical traditions developed almost completely independently of each other, both share a focus on improvisation in structured context, and Jungle Pocket seeks to harness the feeling of perpetual motion and development that come from improvisation in a direction. While instrumentation utilizes neither Tabla nor Drumset, each of Jungle Pocket’s two sections zeroes in on an instrumental soundworld of one of the traditions, the first focusing on the earthy sounds of hand drums, while the second focuses on the metallic resonances of cymbals. The piece as a whole seeks to serve as a vessel for rhythmic energy.