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Itiberê Zwarg


Musicians of all ages, with some experience in their instruments, in any level of technical development.


In 1999, Itiberê was invited to coordinate a one-week workshop in Villa Lobos School of Music, in Rio de Janeiro. He had never done this kind of work, but he faced the challenge. In his workshop, people would play “ universal music” and the methodology would be based on listening and intuition. Universal Music was the name coined by Hermeto Pascoal to describe a poliharmonic, polyrhythmic music that integrates all styles, emphasizing some elements of traditional Brazilian popular music and, at the same time, going beyond the barrier between classic and popular music, mixing elements of regional music of different countries, thus reflecting its universality. The workshop was wonderful, and Itiberê was invited by Proarte School of Music in Rio de Janeiro, to coordinate regular workshops there.


  • • To develop listening as the main tool for the musician;
  • • To make musicians hear music as a whole and learn to interact with others;
  • • To develop their perception of rhythm, melody and harmony;
  • • To work with the talent of each participant in the group, according to his limitations and possibilities;
  • • To break the barrier between classic and popular music, stimulating the universal themes.


In Itiberê’s didactic process, the composition of a piece, during the workshop, is accomplished step by step in the presence of the musicians. Thus, they can observe all the stages of the creative process.

“As I compose, in any instrument, the piece is played almost simultaneously to the process of creation. For example: I create a melody for the saxophone, harmony for the piano and then voices for other instruments. By hearing, they play what I compose and this stimulates the development of the rhythmic, harmonic and melodic perception, as well as musical memory. The memory of each musician is triggered by auditory stimuli, not by visual ones. In this way, music is felt with more intensity. Only after the composition is ready the musicians get the scores, written in real time, during the workshop, by an assistant” – Itiberê Zwarg.

Working in the first place with hearing and musical practice can be compared to the process of learning in the first years of life: the child first listens to the sounds of the adult speech, recognizing and associating them with meanings, then he/she learns to repeat them and, only after, to write them.

With this method, musicians with different levels of technical development can participate in the workshops, because Itiberê composes according to the possibilities of each one of them. Thus, it is possible to work with heterogeneous groups, stimulating collaboration among the musicians, letting the individual talents shine naturally, according to their abilities.

Workshops may happen anywhere in the word. The main format is a total of 20 hours distributed during 5 days. Other possibilities may be scheduled as well.

Itiberê has been coordinating weekly workshops in Proarte School of Music since 1999, and in Maracatu Brasil School of Music, since 2010, in Rio de Janeiro. He has also coordinated workshops in several Brazilian cities during Music Festivals in several Music Schools. Abroad, he has coordinated workshops in the Manhattan School of Music (NY, USA), Purchase College (NY, USA), Universidade Federal de Bogotá (Colombia), Universidade do Litoral (Santa Fe, Argentina), Hoschschule für Musik (Basel, Switzerland).

Itiberê Zwarg

He was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1950. He started to study music with his father, Antonio Bruno Zwarg, musician and composer. He began his career with Ray Carelli group, playing in ballrooms in the city of São Paulo. In the 70´s he was part of Xangô Três and Bossa Jazz Trio. He studied double bass with Nicolai Tchevtchenko. Since 1977, he has been playing with Hermeto Pascoal & Group all over the world, in several tournés in Europe, North America and Japan. He has participated in workshops with Hermeto in France, Switzerland, Germany and United States. With Hermeto, he recorded nine CDs (Zabum Be.Bum.A; Montreux Alive; Cérebro Magnético; Hermeto Pascoal & Group; Lagoa da Canoa, Só não Toca Quem não Quer; Brasil Universo, Festa dos Deuses, Mundo Verde Esperança).

In 1992, Itiberê began his career as a composer and arranger. He made the arrangements for the CD “Variasons” with Gilson Macedo, participated in the CD “De onde vens”, with the singer Ivetty Souza and in the CD “Cordas Cruzadas” with Quarteto Mahogany, among others.

In 1999, he created Itiberê Orquestra Família. Em 2001, he launched his first CD “Pedra de Espia” as a composer, arranger and conductor of his Orchestra; in 2005, he recorded his second CD, “Calendário do Som”. He got a grant from Vitae Foundation as a composer in 2005.

In 2006, he was selected for the Project Natura Musical for a tourné in São, Paulo, Curitiba, Florianópolis, Porto Alegre, Montevidéu e Buenos Aires. Also in 2006, he was selected for the Project Petrobras to organize a songbook with compositions from the regular workshops in Proarte School of Music.

In 2008, Itiberê composed the repertoire of the third CD (“Contrastes”) and the Orchestra performed in several Brazilian cities in the project Young Orchestras sponsored by CCBB. They also recorded two tracks in the CD “Igual a mi corazón” of the Argentinian singer Liliane Herrera.

In 2009, the Orchestra was selected for the project “Pixinguinha/Funarte”, launched the CD “Contrastes” and performed in Macaé, Petrópolis e Rio de Janeiro in “Teatro da Caixa”. In Ceará, the Orchestra participated in the project “Mostra do Cariri”, performing in Crato, Nova Olinda e Potengi. In 2010, the Orchestra was the special guest in TV program “SESC Instrumental” in São Paulo.

In 2011, Itiberê Orquestra Família turned into Itiberê Zwarg & Group. This was due to the changes in the group´s identity and the work´s ideology that happened through the last ten years. In the beginning, there were 33 musicians; now there are eight musicians playing Universal Music, totally integrated in this “big family of sound”. So it was no longer necessary to add “family” to define the group´s identity.