Isabel Crespo is a United States-born Costa Rican-Ecuadorian vocalist and composer currently living in Denton, TX. She spends her time performing, leading ensembles of varying genres and sizes, teaching, and collaborating with artists both nationally and internationally. As a performer, she is praised for her ability to utilize her voice with expressiveness, as well as with agility and precision. As a composer, she enjoys music that has a clear purpose, whether that purpose is to incite a reaction, introspective exploration, protest social injustice, or anything in between.
Crespo was awarded a scholarship based on musical merit to pursue a Bachelors degree in Jazz Studies at the University of North Texas, from which she graduated in 2016. There, she had the opportunity to perform, record, and tour with the Downbeat award-winning UNT Jazz Singers. In addition to being steeped in the jazz tradition at UNT, she also had the opportunity to perform traditional Brazilian music, Afro-Cuban music, contemporary classical compositions, and other repertoire by both colleagues and faculty members.
Since graduating, Crespo has focused on composing, performing, and collaborating as much as possible. She was invited to participate in the Boysie Lowery Living Jazz Residency as a vocalist and composer, during which she performed at the Clifford Brown Festival and premiered works at the Delaware Chamber Music Festival. In 2017 she received a full scholarship to attend the Keep an Eye Jazz Workshop in Amsterdam, NL, was chosen to attend the Siena Jazz Workshop in Italy, and was awarded a full scholarship to attend the same workshop in 2018. During these workshops, she composed for varying instrumentations, studied with and performed with incredible well-known musicians, and performed music by other aspiring professionals.
During the last few years, she has been involved in many different projects. She leads a quintet called For Now, with which she performs her jazz-influenced compositions. They released their debut album, Elsewhere, in May 2018, and they are planning to release their sophomore album, The Turning, in July 2019. Crespo is one half of Both of Us, an improvisatory duo that will be recording their first album in 2019. She is the vocalist in Family Tree, an Avant-pop sextet led by Skyler Hill. The group is currently working on recording a full-length album to be released in 2019. Crespo leads Passarinho, a large ensemble that specializes in performing samba, baião, maracatú, and other traditional Brazilian repertoire. She is one-third of The Chewing Surface, an international (US/Argentina/Norway) experimental jazz trio featuring Crespo on vocals and some compositions. They will be releasing their debut album in 2019. She is also part of an experimental trio called Imposter that incorporates electronics, featuring saxophone, guitar/keys, and vocals. They perform structured improvisations and compositions, and released their debut album, Gesturing, in 2019. She was invited to perform in a Pauline Oliveros tribute concert as a featured artist in Rock Hill, SC in 2018, and she was recently commissioned to compose a piece for open-instrumentation. Crespo is also in the process of composing and recording for a split album project called Inanimate that will be released in 2019. Striving for excellence, she plans to continue writing, performing, and recording, as well as exploring new genres, new mediums, and interdisciplinary projects with like-minded peers.