John "Poppy" Wright's Pool Party Jam

Sunday, September 30, 4:00-5:00PM

Wagner Stage

 Photo by Ryan Lowry

Photo by Ryan Lowry

Chicago pianist MIGUEL DE LA CERNA will host John “Poppy” Wright’s Pool Party Jam on Sunday, September 30th on the Wagner Stage on the Midway. The performance will include numerous venerable Chicago musicians in a rotating jam-style session.


MIGUEL DE LA CERNA is a first-call music director and arranger, a prolific performer, and an influential educator recognized as one of the most versatile pianists working today. A Chicago native, de la Cerna represents the third generation in a distinguished lineage of Chicago piano jazz greats: his grandfather, pianist General Morgan, accompanied and recorded with both Billie Holliday and Henry “Red” Allen, and recording artist Gloria Morgan was de la Cerna’s aunt.

After studies at the American Conservatory of Music and Oberlin Conservatory, de la Cerna toured the U.S., Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia for more than a decade, as pianist and conductor for various ensembles and theatrical productions, before resettling in Chicago. His theater and conducting highlights include musical direction and arrangements for international tours and productions of Bubblin’ Brown Sugar, Blackbirds of Broadway, and From My Hometown.

Known especially for his sensitive work with singers, de la Cerna tours frequently and has recorded extensively in his role as music director and arranger for vocalists Dee Alexander, Bobbi Wilsyn, and Maggie Brown, among others. A frequent collaborator with some of the world’s most celebrated jazz masters, including Oscar Brown, Jr., Jon Hendricks, and Jimmy Heath, de la Cerna also reaches into classical and world music. An accomplished composer, he has twice been commissioned by Chicago’s innovative contemporary classical quintet, the Orion Ensemble.

As a faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, de la Cerna shapes a new generation of young musicians. He also serves as music director for the Jazz Institute of Chicago’s eclectic JazzCity concert series, bringing jazz and world music to concert venues and neighborhoods throughout Chicagoland.