Alexa Torres Skillicorn is a Latina jazz violinist, band leader, and ethnographic researcher based in Austin, Texas. Musically, she seeks to cultivate improvisational and compositional styles which are both historically and personally rooted, embodying a dialogue between tradition and innovation in jazz. She recently recorded her forthcoming debut album entitled In Situ.
Breaking new ground in the world of improvised strings, in 2022 Alexa became the first woman and the first violinist to graduate from the University of North Texas (UNT) jazz strings program. At UNT, she obtained a Master of Music in Jazz Performance in the acclaimed Jazz Studies Department, completing coursework in jazz violin with Scott Tixier; improvisation with Dave Meder, Davy Mooney, and Philip Dizack; and jazz arranging with Rich Derosa. In 2023, she will begin a PhD in Jazz Performance at NYU, fully funded by the competitive five-year Steinhardt Fellowship.
Throughout her musical career, Alexa has performed in the US, Latin America, and Europe and has had the privilege of sharing the stage with renowned, Grammy-winning artists such as Kurt Elling and Mon Laferte. She has played in a diverse array of venues and festivals including Carnegie Hall (NYC), Teatro Caupolican (SCL), The Elephant Room Jazz Club (ATX), South by Southwest, and Festival Internacional Django Reinhardt Chile. In 2019, the album Mundo Zero on which she recorded as a core band member of Ensamble de Luz was nominated for the prestigious Chilean Premio Pulsar award.
Torres views her ethnographic and performance practices as reciprocal; her playing is deeply informed by her research as she aims to construct a musical syntax which temporally connects the past, present, and future. Alexa’s research is published in peer-reviewed journals of music education and social sciences. In addition to her MM in jazz performance, Alexa holds a BA in cultural anthropology and Latin American Studies from the University of Texas, Austin. Her work as a researcher and performer has been recognized by competitive awards such as the Fulbright Grant, the Presser Graduate Music Award, and the Steinhardt Fellowship.