As a sideman, Ms. Cuenca has performed and toured with such jazz luminaries as Eddie Henderson, Gary Bartz, Kenny Drew, Jr., John Hicks, George Cables, Marian McPartland, Jon Faddis, Frank Foster's Loud Minority Big Band, Ed Cherry, Bootsie Barnes Kenny Barron, Michael Brecker, Ray Drummond, Ralph Moore, Regina Carter, Richie Cole, Billy Taylor, James Spaulding, Emily Remler, Valery Ponomarov, Houston Person, Mulgrew Miller, Lew Tabackin, Lou Soloff, Jon Hendricks, Etta Jones, Helen Merrill, Dianne Reeves, Dave Stryker, Stan Getz, Nicholas Payton, Joshua Redman, Vincent Herring, Jesse Davis, Mingus Big Band, The Boys Choir of Harlem and the European based Vienna Art Orchestra, as well as her recordings as a leader, The Crossing and Exit 13.
She can be heard on recordings by Clark Terry, Ron McClure, Ted Curson and The Vienna Art Orchestra, among others. She has performed at festivals and jazz clubs from L.A. to D.C. As a leader, she performed recently with her own group at the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Most recently, she was a clinician for the Sisters in Jazz Program at the 2001 IAJE (International Association of Jazz Educators) in New York and the Jazz for Teens Program at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. She has taught and performed with the Clark Terry Quintet and the Eddie Henderson Quartet at various colleges and universities in the United States and Europe. She has been a staff member at the Stanford Jazz Workshop in Stanford, California since 1985. She was also Artist-In Residence at the Clark Terry Institute of Jazz at Westmar University in Iowa. In 2005, Guest Director for Sisters in Jazz Program at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
In 1988 and 1991, Ms. Cuenca received jazz performance grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, and in 1992, she was a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Drum Competition.
Originally from San Jose, California, Sylvia Cuenca attended San Jose City College where she performed and recorded with the City College Big Band. Over the years, she has studied with Victor Lewis and Keith Copeland. She currently resides in New York City. Ms. Cuenca endorses Zildjian Cymbals, Regal Tip Brushes and Vic Firth Sticks exclusively.