About Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
Grammy Award winning pianist, composer and educator Arturo O’Farrill — leader of the “first family of Afro-Cuban Jazz” (New York Times) — was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. Son of the late, great composer Chico O’Farrill, Arturo was educated at Manhattan School of Music, Brooklyn College Conservatory and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. He played piano in Carla Bley’s Big Band from 1979 through 1983 and earned a reputation as a soloist in groups led by Dizzy Gillespie, Steve Turre, Freddy Cole, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis and Harry Belafonte. In 2002, he established the GRAMMY® winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra in order to bring the vital musical traditions of Afro Latin jazz to a wider general audience, and to greatly expand the contemporary Latin jazz big band repertoire through commissions to artists across a wide stylistic and geographic range.
An acclaimed composer with a groundbreaking and forward-looking perspective, Mr. O’Farrill has received commissions from Meet the Composer, the Big Apple Circus, the Philadelphia Music Project, Symphony Space, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and The Apollo Theater. He has also composed music for films, including Hollywoodland and Salud. His debut album with the Orchestra, Una Noche Inolvidable, earned a GRAMMY® Award nomination in 2006 and the Orchestra’s second album, Song for Chico, (ZOHO) earned a GRAMMY® Award for “Best Latin Jazz Album” in 2009. In February 2011, Mr. O’Farrill and the ALJO released their third GRAMMY® nominated album, 40 Acres and a Burro (ZOHO). In 2011, O’Farrill released his first solo album, The Noguchi Sessions (ZOHO). On May 6, 2014, O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra released, The Offense of the Drum (Motéma Music), which won a GRAMMY® for “Best Latin Jazz Album.” O’Farrill’s latest recording, Cuba: The Conversation Continues, captures the miraculous historical moment of President Obama restoring full diplomatic relations with Cuba. The album features some of today’s foremost Cuba-based and American composers working together in Abdala Studios (Havana, Cuba) recording an album of a lifetime.
Arturo O’Farrill is an artist in residence at Harlem School of the Arts and Casita Maria Center for Arts & Culture and on the faculty of Brooklyn College and the Manhattan School of Music. He’s currently collaborating with director Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater on an Afro-Cuban version of Bizet’s opera, Carmen. He is also a member of the Board of Governors of the New York Chapter of NARAS and is a Steinway Artist.
About the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
Led by pianist, composer, and director Arturo O’Farrill, the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO) comprises 18 eminent soloists. Performing classic works in the Afro Latin Jazz tradition, the Orchestra helps to preserve this vital musical genre, and commissioning new works provides the next generation of composers, arrangers and instrumentalists with an opportunity to further explore and define Afro Latin Jazz. Established in 2002, the ALJO has toured internationally, bringing the rhythms and power of Latin jazz to places as far away as China. For the past eight years, ALJO has been delighted to perform regularly at Symphony Space. The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra are artists-in-residence at the Harlem School of the Arts. Visit them on YouTube: https://www.youtube.co/user/AfroLatinJazzNY
Afro Latin Jazz Alliance
The nonprofit Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA) was established by Arturo O’Farrill in 2007 to promote Afro Latin Jazz through a comprehensive array of performance and educational programs. ALJA self-produced the Orchestra’s annual performance season at Symphony Space (2007 – 2015) and maintains a weekly engagement for the Orchestra at the famed jazz club Birdland. The Alliance also maintains a world-class collection of Latin jazz musical scores and recordings. ALJA’s education initiatives include the Afro Latin Jazz Academy of Music in-school residency program serving public schools citywide with instrumental and ensemble instruction, and the pre-professional youth orchestra, the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats, which prepares the next generation of musicians. The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance is a partner project of the Fund for the City of New York and maintains an administrative office at the Harlem School of the Arts — The Herb Alpert Center where O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra are currently artists-in-residence. For more information on the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, please visit: http://afrolatinjazz.org/
The work of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance is made possible with generous support from: Foundations: Arnhold Foundation, Leonard Bernstein Family Foundation, BMI Foundation, The Brenner Family Foundation, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, D’Addario Foundation, Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Fund for the City of New York, Hispanic Federation, National Recreation Foundation, New Music USA, NYC & Company Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund/Culpepper Arts Grant, Fan Fox, and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation; Corporations: Bronx Lebanon Hospital, Colgate-Palmolive, Con Edison, Tahl Propp, Public: New York City Department of Cultural Affairs-Cultural Development Fund, New York State Council on the Arts – Music & Arts Education Program, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer Cultural Grant, City Council Members Helen Rosenthal, Mark Levine, Eugene Mathieu, and Antonio Reynoso, and other generous individual donors.
The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra’s FY15 season is supported by NYC & Company Foundation. WBGO is a media, partner.