Sara Serpa Residency Concert: Intimate Strangers

NEC: Brown Hall | Directions

290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA
United States

Award-winning singer, composer, improviser and NEC alum Sara Serpa and NEC students will perform excerpts from Intimate Strangers, Serpa’s acclaimed multi-media work offering musical insight into the journeys and experiences of migrants, refugees and displaced people. Together they’ll create vivid soundscapes based on Nigerian author Emmanuel Iduma’s book A Stranger’s Pose. Serpa’s 2021 album Intimate Strangers earned a place as one of the best albums of 2021 from The New York Times, The Nation, Rimas e Batidas, ArtsFuse, and  For the second part of the concert, Serpa and NEC students will be joined by NEC alums guitarist André Matos and pianist Dov Manski performing a range of repertoire including music from their new album Night Birds.

This is an in-person event with a private stream available to the NEC community here:


Pre-Concert Reception

6:30 PM ET | Eben Jordan Ensemble Room

NEC alumni, students, faculty, and staff: Join us before the concert for refreshments and a chance to connect with Jazz Studies Co-Chair Ken Schaphorst '84 MM, Sara Serpa '08 MM, Andre Matos '08 MM, Dov Manski '07, and fellow NEC alumni. The concert will follow at 8:00 pm featuring Sara, Andre, Dov, and current Jazz students.

Register for the Pre-Concert Reception


Sara Serpa

A native from Lisboa, Portuguese Sara Serpa explores the use of the voice as an instrument. Serpa has been working in the field of jazz, improvised and experimental music, since moving to New York in 2008. Literature, film, visual arts, nature and history inspire Serpa in the creative process and development of her music. Described by the New York Times as “a singer of silvery poise and cosmopolitan outlook,” and by the JazzTimes magazine as “a master of wordless landscapes,”  Serpa started her recording and performing career with jazz luminaries such as Grammy-nominated pianist, Danilo Perez, Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow pianist, Ran Blake, and Greg Osby.
       Her ethereal music draws from a broad variety of inspirations including literature, film, visual arts as well as history and nature. As a leader, she has produced and released ten albums, the latest being Intimate Strangers (2021) and Recognition (2020).
       Serpa was voted 2020 NPR Jazz Vocalist, Rising Star-Female Vocalist 2019 by the Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll, and teaches at The New School and New Jersey City University. Currently Serpa is Artist-In-Residence at Park Avenue Armory, in New York and a recipient of New York City Women’s Fund 2020, Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Grant 2019, New Music USA 2019 Grant,  2021 USArtists Grant from Mid-Atlantic Foundation for the Arts, and 2021 Herb Alpert/Ragdale Prize in Composition.

Photograph by Carlos Ramos


  1. All compositions by Sara Serpa

    Excerpts from Intimate Strangers:


    The Poet

    How do you know where to go?


    The Poet

    In due course

    I dream you leaving

    I must become a tree

    Monique Van Willingh, spoken word
    Elizabeth Embser, Aviana Gedler, Ariel Vera, Yifan Yue, Yifei Zhou, Sara Serpa, voice
    Jake Walters, piano
    Nico Daglio-Fine, electronics
    Caleb Montague, projection assistant


  3. All compositions written and arranged by Sara Serpa and André Matos








    Yuwei Luo, Jillian Moore, Rania Toli, Sara Serpa, voice
    Kira Daglio-Fine, soprano saxophone
    Lemuel Marc, trumpet
    Cooper Malinowski, trombone
    Jonah Kernis, cello
    André Matos, guitar
    George Maclaurin, Dov Manski, piano
    Daniel Mayer, double bass
    Caleb Montague, drums