Phenomenal debut of Aldo López-Gavilán with Orchestra in the US

Cuban Pianist-Composer Aldo López-Gavilán garners rave review for his US orchestral debut performance of Rhapsody in Blue at Festival Napa Valley!

Original encore dazzles audience!

Conductor and orchestra also provided glorious support for Cuban pianist Aldo Lopez-Gavilan’s shimmering, exciting performance of George Gershwin’s grand “Rhapsody in Blue.” Although this was the Ferde Grofe arrangement for symphony orchestra, this listener kept hearing that soul-stirring rendition by Paul Whiteman and his jazz band from the Roaring ‘20s creep in now and again. And we loved the guest artist’s fiery cadenzas. A young man who captivates in both classical and jazz veins, Lopez-Gavilan captured both the rhythmic invention and the melodic inspiration the composer intended. Orchestra and soloist played as one — a radiant reading under the baton of a man who seemed to enjoy the work as much as we did. The guest artist provided a lagniappe with a dazzling encore, one of his own compositions, titled “Oddudua.”

Read the full article here:

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ALDO LOPEZ-GAVILÁN CAPTIVATES DURING HIS DEBUT IN CANADA.

Kingston, ON Canada – March, 24 2016

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Renowned pianist and Cuban composer Aldo Lopez-Gavilan wowed his audience that attended on Wednesday 23 the spectacular concert hall Isabel Bader Center in Kingston, Ontario.

López-Gavilán, in a concert of nearly two hours, included pieces by great composers like Debussy, Brahms and Chopin, American jazz standards and his own compositions.

The elegant music hall adjacent to the renowned University of Queens, is considered one of the most prestigious concert venues in Canada. Designed by the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta in partnership with the Canadian firm N45 at a cost of 72 million dollars, it has been internationally acclaimed for its extraordinary acoustic conditions and high technology.

These qualities, highlighted by the unique sound of a Grand Piano Steinway & Sons, were certainly enjoyed to the fullest by the virtuoso musician, who did show off a wide range of dynamics and timbres all received by the audience with prolonged standing ovations.

A Cuban classical-jazz mix, straight from Havana, to liven up your Friday

Pianist Aldo and violinist Ilmar López-Gavilán, brothers from Cuba, along with Ilmar’s group, the Harlem Quartet, will bring a heady mix of music to Seattle on Friday, March 13.

By Paul de Barros
Seattle Times music critic

North Americans visiting musical conservatories in Havana can’t help but notice that in Cuba, music education is less segmented than it is here. Student performances for guests can include classical, jazz, Afro-Cuban, bolero, salsa and pop — all in one recital. That’s one reason Cuban jazz players often have such strong classical chops: They’ve been studying piano since, as we say of our Nashville cats, “they’s babies.”Aldo+HQ
A rare glimpse of Cuban pan-musicality is on view this weekend as the López-Gavilán brothers — pianist Aldo and violinist Ilmar, with the Harlem Quartet — make their West Coast debut in a program of jazz, classical and Afro-Cuban music for piano and string quartet.

Aldo López-Gavilán (at center) was a prodigy who made his professional debut at age 12 with Cuba’s Matanzas Symphony Orchestra. Since then, he has done world tours, composed for film and theater, released six albums and been featured in the film “¡Manteca, Mondongo y Bacalao con Pan!” — a documentary about Latin jazz in Cuba. Possessed of dazzling technique and rhythmic fire, López-Gavilán is something to behold. Conductor Claudio Abbado invited him to perform as a soloist in a concert celebrating the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth.

The Harlem String Quartet made its public debut in 2006 at Carnegie Hall and most recently recorded the Grammy Award-winning “Hot House,” with pianist Chick Corea — also in town this weekend — and vibraphonist Gary Burton. The group (shown from left in the photo): Ilmar López-Gavilán and Melissa White (violins), Matthew Salkind (cello) and Jaime Amador (viola).

Part of the attraction of this program is the set list, which includes Corea’s classical piece, “The Adventures of Hippocrates,” Wynton Marsalis’ string quartet, “At the Octoroon Balls,” Billy Strayhorn’s swing-era classic, “Take the A Train,” and original works by Aldo López-Gavilán himself.

7:30 p.m. Friday, March 13, at Nordstrom Recital Hall, Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $10-$55 (206-215-4747 or nwsinfonietta.org). The Seattle performance is followed by shows Saturday in Tacoma and Sunday in Puyallup.

Paul de Barros: 206-464-3247; pdebarros@seattletimes.com; or follow him on Twitter @pdebarros

 

Aldo to play Piano Marathon Cubano in Miami and Washington

Piano Marathon Cubano featuring Jorge Luis Pacheco, Harold López-Nussa, and Aldo López-Gavilán (Cuba)

Havana, January, 20, 2015

Three of Cuba’s top jazz pianists perform a lively two-hour marathon concert with one, two, or all three onstage at any given time.

Pacheco is also a percussionist, composer, and vocalist, while López-Nussa is an outstanding young jazz interpreter, and López-Gavilán, a jazz and classic painist and composer was also born to a family of acclaimed musicians.

Aldo y Harold

Aldo Lopez-Gavilan’s latest album a winner at Cubadisco 2014!

Havana, May 15, 2014

De todos los colores y tambien verde (Producciones Colibri 2013) , Aldo López-Gávilan’s latest album won the prestigious music Cuban award CUBADISCO 2014 in the Instrumental Music Category.

Each year Cubadisco is dedicated to a country and a musical genre and also pays tribute to artists and personalities with a distinguished creative work within the Cuban Music industry. Specialized conferences, expositions, colloquiums, concerts and CD launching take place during the event, as well as a wide musical program at different theaters and salons of Havana, with the participation of many Cuban and foreign groups and singers.

The album will be available for download in most music stores online.

A preview is available here

 

Aldo to play four concerts at San Francisco Jazz Festival

Havana-born pianist and composer Aldo López-Gavilán is an artist with his feet in two worlds, acclaimed for both his mastery of the Afro-Cuban jazz tradition as well as his stunning interpretations of the classical piano repertoire.

A true prodigy born to a musical family, his concert pianist mother introduced him to the piano at four and he began formal studies at seven, making his professional debut at 12 with Cuba’s Matanzas Symphony Orchestra and performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.3 with the National Symphony of Cuba at 17.

Since that auspicious start, López-Gavilán has toured the world and released six award-winning albums of original compositions with a number of Cuba’s finest instrumentalists, composed for film and theater, and been featured in ¡Manteca, Mondongo y Bacalao con Pan!, a documentary on the history of Latin jazz in Cuba directed by Pavel Giroud.

The pianist was invited by renowned conductor Claudio Abbado to perform as soloist in a special concert dedicated to the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth, and recently composed the music for Catherine Murphy’s documentary Maestra, which traces Cuba’s effort in the early 1960s to abolish illiteracy after the Revolution.

These two nights present the West Coast debut of a rising Cuban superstar and renaissance man.

You can buy tickets for these concerts here

Aldo López-Gavilán & Harold López-Nussa in Concert in Miami

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Miami, Florida- On Saturday 24th of November, FUNDarte will be presenting Cuban Pianists Aldo López-Gavilán & Harold López-Nussa in Concert. The event will take place at the new On.Stage Black.Box Theater at Miami-Dade County Auditorium (2901 W. Flagler St., Miami).

The Wild Youth of Cuban Piano

This performance marks the opening of FUNDarte’s 10th anniversary season of presenting exciting, risk taking and truly diverse performing arts events in Miami.  FUNDarte’s commitment to local audiences and tenacity in bringing the vangarde of contemporary performing arts from far reaches has won the organization growing support, including a grant from the Knight Foundation for programming, which is dedicated to presenting innovative local and international Latino artists.

With this support, FUNDarte will bring direct from his engagement at Carnegie Hall, Aldo López-Gavilán will be joined by Harold López-Nussa for an exceptional duet that will embrace themes from traditional Cuban sounds to Afro-Cuban Jazz.  Virtuosity, innovation, and originality are how audiences and critics describe the two young uber-talents that are taking the classical and jazz music worlds by storm.  Both accomplished and award winning soloists in their own right, these two Cuban maverick pianists will be playing one rare engagement together at the Miami Dade County Auditorium, thanks to Miami’s FUNDarte. Come hear, understand and savor the live sounds of these unique pianists from the Island.  This program is presented in support of the mission of the new No Borders Performance Series.

WHAT: Cuban Pianists Aldo López-Gavilán & Harold López-Nussa in Concert

WHEN: Saturday, November 24th, 2012, at 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: The Miami Dade County Auditorium, On Stage Black Box Theater, 2901 West Flagler Street, Miami, FL. 

TICKETS: $30 General Admission/Entrada General, $25 seniors/personas mayores (65+) & Students/Estudiantes (18-) with/con I.D. www.ticketmaster.com & by phone (800)745.3000, or in-person at Miami-Dade County Auditorium Box Office, Monday/Lunes to Friday/Viernes, 9am – 4pm, 2901 W Flagler Street, Miami, FL 305.547.5414

FREE PARKING!

+ info: info@fundarte.uswww.fundarte.us – 305.316.6165

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PRESS QUOTES:

“Aldo López-Gavilán is not only a formidable virtuoso, but also exceeds in works that require extraordinary color and fascinating sounds.  His natural talent never suffers and his original thinking as an artist assures a performance of amazing playing and individuality.” 

-The London Times

“From the first note one realizes that Lopez-Gavilan can’t be identified as a pianist because he IS the piano.”

-International Jazz Festival of Cali  

“López-Nussa’s latest album possesses the devilish speed and convincing forcefulness of Cuban piano, and he’s capable of showing his brilliance in his solos as well as a loyal accompaniest—definitely a name to follow.”

-DistritoJazz.com

Artist Biographies

Called a true musical genius and a ‘piano hurricane’, Aldo López-Gavilan is a Cuban Pianist who is known as well for his exhilarating classical interpretations as he is for his complete and entrancing mastery of Afro-Cuban Jazz.  He started his professional career very early on, debuting with the Symphonic Orchestra of Matanzas at age 12, and with the National Symphony of Cuba at age 17.  After finishing his preliminary Piano studies in Cuba, he enrolled in London’s Trinity College to continue his formal education.  He has won numerous prizes in international piano competitions, and has performed internationally in Venezuela, United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, France, Canada, Hong Kong, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Spain, Greece, Burkina Fasso, Germany and Austria, besides his native Cuba.  In 2006 he was invited to play as a soloist in a special concert given by the Symphonic Youth Orchestra in Caracas, Venezuela in honor of 250-year anniversary of Mozart.  He has recorded several CD’s, and has formed his own quartet, with whom he tours regularly. 

Harold López Nussa is a Cuban Pianist who began his musical studies under the tutelage of Teresita Junco (who is Aldo López-Gavilan’s mother), who would later be an important advisor during his studies at the Institute of Fine Arts of Cuba (ISA). His training and musical roots have allowed him to transit freely between popular and classical genres, sharing the stage with some of the greats such as Leo Brower, José Miguel Greco, Chucho Valdés, Bobby Carcassés, Alexander Brown and Elmer Ferrer, among other recognized members of the Buena Vista Social Club. As one of the youngest and most brilliant Jazz artists from the island, he has played concerts in some of Cuba’s most important theaters as well as international festivals such as Teatro Olimpia, New Morning, Barbican Centre, North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Oslo World Music Festival.  In 2007, he formed his own quartet and now shares he time between ensemble work and his solo career.  He’s travelled with his work to Brazil, France, Germany, Norway, Holland, Switzerland, United States, Dominican Republic as well as to many provinces in Cuba.  He is the winner of the 2005 audience choice award for piano in the Jazz Festival of Montreux, Switzerland.

Aldo Lopez-Gavilan to play at Carnagie Hall

Dayramir and Habana enTRANCE Aldo López-Gavilán Quartet
Afro-Cuban Jazz: The Younger Generation
Zankel Hall

Two rising Cuban stars bring their bands to Zankel Hall for an evening of music making that gives the audience a glimpse into the future of jazz in Cuba.

This concert is part of Late Nights at Zankel Hall.

And López-Gavilán, whose his father is an orchestra conductor and his late mother was an important pianist and educator, can point to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring as a pivotal piece that he remembers from his childhood, but also talk about family gatherings where they sang Cuban songs and his own interest in “tribal or indigenous musics, be it African, Fernando González on Dayramir González and Aldo López-Gavilán Dayramir González Aldo López Gavilán 27 Indian, Arabic, Celtic … and of course those with Latin roots such as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia …”

Both González and López-Gavilán gravitated towards jazz as a vehicle for self-expression, but neither wants to be boxed into one particular style. González—whose father introduced him to jazz with a cassette of Wynton Marsalis that featured the late Kenny Kirkland—cites Chick Corea, el señor Keith Jarrett, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Chucho Valdés as influences that have helped draw him closer to the jazz tradition. (“I’m so lucky to now to be living jazz,” he says of his experience at the Berklee College of Music in Boston). But he also speaks of his love for Latin pop. “Jazz is a path, but if people think that’s the only thing you can do, that will close doors.”

Meanwhile, López-Gavilán uses the tools of jazz to develop a style “that is closer to world music,” he says. Still, he points out that the rich Cuban music tradition is embedded “in every Cuban.” At this concert, he plans to play his own music, which features influences of Latin jazz, fusion, and world music, but he notes that “it’d be very easy to find passages that breathe the air of Vieja Trova Santiaguera, or composers such as Sindo Garay, María Teresa Vera, or the son of Miguel Matamoros, and Félix Chapotín. The roots of any Cuban musician, regardless of his style, is our traditional Cuban music.”

© 2012 The Carnegie Hall Corporation
Fernando González is an independent music writer and  critic whose work appears regularly in The Miami Herald, JazzTimes, and The International Review of Music.

Aldo Lopez Gavilan at Cubadisco 2007

May 24, 2007
Aldo Lopez Gavilan at Cubadisco 2007
By MICHEL HERNANDEZ
Photo: Aldo Mederos
Aldo Lopez Gavilan sat down at the piano, moved his fingers and began to talk with the universe for nearly two hours on the stage of the Amadeo Roldan Theater in Havana at Cubadisco 2007.

Lopez Gavilan took the stage with a hypnotic mantle of eyes on him, even though he had drawn an audience largely familiar with his creative talent. Nobody wanted to miss this composer with a solid classical music background combined with frequent forays into the passionate world of jazz. Once again the of this pianist appeared to embody the best spirits of Cuban and international music As he had promised in an interview days before, he came to play a solo piano session. He did just that, proving his technical virtuosity and sensibility with his trademark naturalness, playing several pieces that could charm even a rattlesnake.

Aldo demonstrated why he has already etched out a special place in Cuban music right from the first piece El regreso and throughout a series of compositions that show his stylistic depth. After the first applause, he started a demonstration of the diversity of his
repertory, traveling to Zimbabwe to invoke the god Shona, who, according to African mythology, assures that souls arrive in peace to paradise. The melodic ritual captivated an audience that appeared to be fixated on a work of conceptual art at the Museum of Modern Art.

He also performed Pajaro carpintero, Me voy pa’ Cuba, Pan con timba and the popular Talking to the Universe, songs in which he blended his technical domination with the need to experiment. Gavilan concluded his performance with a song from his latest CD Soundbite, a suite which includes Preludio, Tocata de guitarra para piano, Nacimiento y desvanecimiento del fuego and Final.

A Portrail of Aldo Lopez-Gavilan by HABANEROS -Encounters in Havana-

Aldo Lopez GavilanIPianist

– Come in!

We’re going to see a ”wonder kid”, and who we meet is a cheerful young guy with curly rasta hair, dressed in baggy hiphop jeans. His inviting openness is felt as soon as we enter into the labyrinthical apartment ten floors up from Malecón, with the ocean and the open horizon on one side, and the city – surprisingly white from above – on the other.

Aldo López-Gavilán Junco, a classical pianist and a great musician to be on Christmas leave from Trinity College of Music in London, receives us with a big smile and a plain ”quieren café”? He looks as if he has lived his life on a skateboard, or in a pair of fast rollerblades, his eyes are laughing, his face relaxed, soft and young. But this is a Caribbean Mozart, or Keith Jarreth, who sang before he could speak, who composed his first piece for the piano at the age of five, who made his debut as a soloist with the 13th piano concert by Mozart at twelve and interpreted  Prokofjev´s 3rd concert for piano and orchestra with Cuba’s leading Symphony Orchestra at the age of 17.

Scarcely eleven, at a huge UNICEF-concert in The Hague with young talents from all over the world, he suddenly realised that the piece he had prepared was too long, so instead he started to improvise freely from all the music he had lived with and played up to then. Terrified to begin with, but becoming more secure with each new idea and impulse. At the end of his performance the audience were standing up, shouting with joy!

– I mixed classical pieces and música popular, jazz, pop, rock folklore – anything  that came into my mind, he says, still filled with wonder, as if it had just happened, and without words he invites us even closer to himself. Finally I began to sing too, ritual Yoruba sounds from my memory, without knowing their meaning or where I was going to land. And in the midst of it all, when the fear left me and I heard the ovations from the audience, I knew that this was me, my way of playing, my music! Like finally being born. It is still one of the happiest moments in my life.

The intense midday sun and the reflections from the sea are softly filtered through the dark wooden blinds of the living room. Islands of green plants are dimly shimmering in the corners, like floating chords that lingered behind. Surrounded by Cuban contemporary art, awards and  trophies: The grand piano. Aldos´s playmate, friend and companion through life.

– Unfortunately it’s being repaired, otherwise I would have loved to play something for you instead of just talking about my music.

His tone enviably free and without reserve, as if talking and playing were only two, just as easily reachable, sides of the same coin. His hair is moving, everything is moving, he laughs and shares himself without anything to defend, instantly ready to meet whatever is arising and brought to life. Yet there is an unusual stillness around him, as if we had always been friends, as if he had already found his way home. Perhaps he has never left paradise.

His mother a pianist, a famous piano tutor and his first teacher, his father a famous conductor and composer, his elder brother a virtuoso on the violin – there was never any doubt that Aldo too would start with the great masters, the fundamentals and the technique. His talent was obvious to everyone.

– A life outside music, classical music, just wasn’t there. Never was, not even the thought of it, he says in his smiling voice, resting comfortably in himself.

Ever since Aldo composed his first piece he has continued to create his own music. Titles like ”To my beautiful young brother”, ”The story about the little girl who gave time back to time”, show an unchanged love for the childhood landscape, and for life, just like the music itself. In ”About castles, princesses and…” the young teenager is glimpsed in the playful changes of moods. With exquisite balance, ever since the transforming concert in The Hague, his music has been enriched with the full spectra of rhythms, forms and colours that Cuba is infused with – from colonial habaneas and contra danza to bolero, salsa, Yoruba rhythms and son, everything that reaches an inner point in him and demands to come alive, which makes his music just as Creole and born out of encounters as the food, the architecture and the Cubans themselves.

– In Cuba our music is a natural part of living, impossible to separate from the rest of life, he says, while scratching his sleepy, tousled little dog on its tummy. It always surrounds me here, like an ever-present nourishment. Even if you adore Chopin you dance to Los Van Van and Issac Delgado. It’s true that I grew up with classical music, but in our family we have always listened just as much to our great soneros and dance-music as to Beethoven and Tjajkovskij.

During a visit to Spain Aldo finally and fully discovered flamenco, which led him on to  Arabian and Indian music, New Age and World music, which also nestles into his music that seems to come dancing out on its own accord when he is playing, with his voice as an extra spice on top. Or inside. And of course the unavoidable gods Bach and Mozart as well. Although it is the Russians that are closest to him, Stravinskij and Rachmaninov, with their intensity and richness of emotions, he says. And Ravel, his silences and sudden steps. While he himself comes closest to who he really is when he is playing.

– I always come back to myself at the piano. There I know I can express what I have inside. I give myself the same freedom as a jazz musician to improvise and mix in the spur of the moment, but the foundation is always the classics. At my concerts the audience comes from both sides – some to hear me play classical music, others to hear jazz. Both groups have to open up to something they would have otherwise missed, and that’s exactly what I want.

He is silent for a while, making himself available, waiting for what is to come, like someone who is eager, but still taking his time. An unusual ”wonder boy”, and an extraordinary  20 year old. Who is he by the way? He seeks, searches, and his laughter makes his rasta curls fly around him again.

– Who I am… hmm, I don’t know really… I think I am a rather peaceful person, creative, and a thinker, he starts a little tentatively. I can’t really say what I’m thinking about , but I think a lot! That I know for sure. And I have lots of love inside of me.

He stops for a moment, a little embarrassed. Picks up the rhythm again and continues:

– I want to convey something beautiful to others. As a musician one is like an instrument, a channel between the earth and the unlimited, some call it music, others call it God. My dream is to make people feel something of that boundlessness I experience myself when I’m playing, when the music disappears and something else is there. Just like when I watch the sunset and all the colours over the ocean from our living room window. That too is music.

He puts on his first CD. A small sample before we leave, filled with rhythms, openings and surprises, of both skateboard and God. And this silky stillness from the piano that comes and goes like the afternoon breeze from the sea through the wooden blinds. Aldo closes his eyes and disappears into his own tunes, and once more he invites us without words to come along. We travel in gentle, unexpected circles, through different worlds and fields of stars, while the afternoon sun is gilding the rooftops of Havana and dusk is approaching. We return reluctantly, and leave the labyrinthical apartment with something we didn’t have when we arrived. Perhaps a dream on it’s way to be fulfilled. Or a reminder of it.