About The Show
The GRAMMY-award winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO), led by pianist, composer and director Arturo O’Farrill, brings together the drama of big band jazz, the culture of Latin music and the virtuosity of eighteen of the world’s most accomplished solo musicians.
Arturo O’Farrill Bio
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 the 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 (ALJO) 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. In 2007, Mr. O’Farrill established the nonprofit Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA) as a new institutional support for the Orchestra with a mission to promote Afro Latin Jazz through performance, education and recordings.
As an educator, Mr. O’Farrill has conducted countless workshops, master classes and lectures and he is currently on the faculty of Brooklyn College’s Conservatory of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. He is a Steinway Artist and artist-in-residence at the Harlem School of the Arts and Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education
A celebrated composer with a frequent new ground-breaking and forward looking perspective, Mr. O’Farrill has received commissions from the Apollo Theater; Meet the Composer, the Big Apple Circus, the Philadelphia Music Project, Symphony Space, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts. He has also composed music for films, including Hollywoodland and Salud.
Mr. O’Farrill has recorded numerous CDs, and can be heard on the soundtracks of two critically acclaimed films, Calle 54 and Chico and Rita. He and the ALJO received their first GRAMMY nomination in 2006 for Una Noche Inolvidable (Palmetto) and won a 2008 GRAMMY for Best Latin Jazz Album for Song for Chico, (Zoho). They were again nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album in 2011 for 40 Acres and a Burro, (Zoho). His fourth album with ALJO, The Offense of the Drum, (MOTEMA) received a 2015 GRAMMY for best Latin Jazz album. In 1995 Mr. O’Farrill agreed to direct his father’s band, the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, which concluded a 15-year residency at the famed Birdland nightclub. The Orchestra’s last album, Final Night at Birdland (ZOHO) was awarded a 2015 Latin GRAMMY for best Latin Jazz album.
Arturo O’Farrill is a member of the Board of Governors of the New York chapter of NARAS. He is currently collaborating with theater director Moises Kaufman of the Tectonic Theater on an Afro Cuban version of the Bizet opera Carmen.