Carlene Sawyer is a native of South Florida, whose family members are among Miami’s pioneers.
While living in Chicago, Sawyer's work included the position Vice President of the Boys & Girls Clubs, where she directed human and financial resource development for various education and community organizations. Further, her special interest in Literacy led her to be a Public Library Trustee, the Board of Director for the Harold Washington Literary Award and the Printers Row Book Fair, and Co-Chair of the Authors Group at the Union League Club of Chicago.
After 25 years of living and working in various parts of the United States and England, Sawyer returned to Florida to join the Dranoff International 2 Piano Foundation as Executive Director.
Sawyer manages and oversees the funding, production and artistic integrity of Dranoff’s programs and the advancement of the Dranoff International 2 Piano Competition. Under her leadership, the Foundation was awarded the State of Florida’s largest artistic subsidy - the Cultural Endowment Grant. The Dranoff has developed an annual concert season of Dranoff winners and has recently expanded its programming with a special emphasis on artist development in South America and Asia.
She is also the creator and producer of Dranoff’s PIANO SLAM, the Foundation’s performance and education program, which has brought live music poetry and dance to over 60,000 teenage students in recent years.
Sawyer’s community commitments include her work to support civil rights and education initiatives in Miami Dade County.
“Add Martin Bejerano to the expanding roster of hot young pianists that stretches from Hiromi Uehara and Eldar Djangirov to Robert Glasper and Taylor Eigsti...” – Jazz Times
Acclaimed pianist and composer Martin Bejerano has performed/recorded with numerous jazz luminaries including his 20 year association with GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award-winning drummer Roy Haynes, Christian McBride Band, Dave Holland, Pat Metheny, Ignacio Berroa, Ron Carter, Russell Malone, Dafnis Prieto, Roxana Amed, Brian Lynch,, Adam Nussbaum, John Faddis, Roy Hargrove, Marcus Strickland, E.J. Strickland, Mike Rodriguez, Kevin Mahogony, Lauren Kinhan, performing at most of the major jazz clubs, festivals and venues around the world. He is featured on over 25 recordings, including the GRAMMY nominated Fountain of Youth with the Roy Haynes Quartet, and Roxana Amed’s Latin GRAMMY nominated album Ontology.
An award-winning bandleader, Martin’s trio has performed at such notable venues as Symphony Space, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, The Jazz Gallery, Barquisimeto Jazz Festival, El Hatillo Jazz Festival, St. Petersburg Jazz Festival, Festival Miami, and Lucerne Piano Off-Stage Festival. His most recent recording, Trio Miami, was selected as Downbeat Magazine’s “Editor’s Choice”, and he was recently awarded his second “New Jazz Works” grant from Chamber Music America in 2017, as well as composing grants and commissions from the Dranoff International 2 Piano Foundation and Sonos Chamber Orchestra. His work on Roxana Amed’s acclaimed Ontology album in 2021, on which he played piano and composed and/or arranged much of the music, contributed to its being nominated for a Latin GRAMMY award.
Recently, Martin is proud to have joined the Board of Directors for the wonderful “Arts For Learning”, a non-profit organization providing free arts education to thousand of children in the South Florida area.
Currently, Martin heads the Jazz Piano Studio at the acclaimed Frost School of Music, University of Miami, is serving as Artistic Director for the world-renown Dranoff International 2 Piano Foundation, and continues touring and recording with artists including Roy Haynes, Ignacio Berroa Trio, Dafnis Prieto, Jonathan Kreisberg Quartet, and Roxana Amed, as well as with his current project, #CubanAmerican Trio.