Inaugural lecture by Iñaki Sandoval “Color Palette: Influences of Impressionism in Jazz Harmony”

On 26 October at 16:15, UT Professor of Jazz Music Iñaki Sandoval will deliver his inaugural lecture on the influences of Impressionism in jazz harmony. The lecture is in English and is held in the assembly hall of the University of Tartu.

Impressionist music follows the same concept as employed by Impressionist paintings, giving just an “impression” of the figure represented, with no sound being more important that the other and without specifically outlining its characteristics. Harmony in jazz music is typically based on a prevailing vertical approach, i.e. tonality. However, as taken from French Impressionism, harmony can also be approached in a horizontal or modal manner, considering primarily the mode and scale instead of the guide tones. 

Present-day jazz musicians regularly incorporate classical music concepts, including elements of Impressionism, in their music and the stylistic division lines across genres have become blurred over time. This primary characteristic defines jazz music as an all-encompassing art form that combines a variety of music resources to develop a creative and often spontaneous musical expression. Jazz musicians who are well-known for their Impressionistic approach include, for example, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. 

“The lecture focuses on the influences of Impressionism, which developed both in painting and music, on jazz music, and especially jazz harmony. In addition, jazz music has been influenced by many 20th-century styles,” said Professor Iñaki Sandoval about the theme of the lecture. “The lecture is suitable for everyone. In the lecture I describe works of art, paintings, and compare them to pieces of jazz music. I also play a few examples on the piano.”

Iñaki Sandoval is Professor of Jazz Music and Director of Viljandi Culture Academy of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Tartu. He has formerly served as the director of the jazz department and the dean of graduate studies at the Liceu Conservatory in Barcelona, Spain.  He is a pianist and composer, with bachelor’s degrees in both classical and jazz piano performance, master’s degree in jazz piano performance and PhD in Art History and Musicology. Over the last two decades, he has developed a brilliant artistic career, performing all over the world, collaborating and recording with internationally acclaimed musicians. He has published five albums as a leader and is preparing for the upcoming publication of “Estonian Trilogy”, a collection of three studio albums, which will be released in 2018.

Additional information: Kady Sõstar, Senior Specialist for Protocol in UT International Cooperation Unit, 511 9188,

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