Tuba Bach 2017

Thank you


Concert 5
October 7, 2017 • 7:00 P.M.
October 8, 2017 • 4:00 P.M.
Big Rapids High School Auditorium

Havana Good Time

Cuban musicians — and brothers — Ilmar Gavilan, violin and Aldo-Lopez Gavilan, piano, bring a fiery blend of jazz, classical, and Afro-Cuban music traditions.

This concert is made possible through the generous support of

Guest artists appearing with Edward Mallett:

Meet ILMAR and ALDO LÓPEZ-GAVILÁN, virtuoso brothers born in Havana, but long separated by geopolitics. Ilmar makes his way as a violinist in NY. Aldo is famous as a jazz and classical pianist in Cuba. Both find opportunities and challenges in their chosen countries.

At 14, the Cuban government sent Ilmar to Russia, to study with a master violinist. He never returned, landing a spot in the Queen of Spain’s music conservatory. He found his way to the U.S., where he won first place in a music competition. The prize: first violin in the Harlem Quartet, a hard-working performance group that mentors kids of color in classical music.

Aldo, 6 years younger, stayed in Havana, inspired by a culture of world-class jazz pianists. Acclaimed for his original jazz compositions and classical chops, he is virtually unknown in the U.S.
Tuba Bach will bring these two brothers together in a phenomenal musical journey.

Violinist ILMAR GAVILAN, a native of Havana, Cuba, has had a remarkable performing career that has taken him all over the world. This fascinating journey range from performing for world leaders such as President Obama at the White House and Queen Sofia of Spain at The Royal Palace of Madrid to performing with top stature artist of diverse styles such as Itzhak Perlman and Chick Corea.

As a soloist, Mr. Gavilan has performed concertos with the Atlanta, New Jersey, Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Hartford, Nashville, Ann Arbor, Santa Monica, Phoenix, Denver, Louisiana, Anchorage, Santa Fe, Havana, Mexico City, and Venezuela Symphonies and played recitals in England, Russia, Spain and Portugal.

An avid chamber musician, Mr. Gavilan has performed with ItzhakPerlman, Arnold Steinhardt, Ida Kavafian, Carter Brey, Paul Katz, Fred Sherry, Anthony McGill and Misha Dicter.Mr. Gavilan has participated in numerous chamber music festivals including Tanglewood, Ravinia and Angel Fire.

Jazz and Afro-Cuban music found a shining place in Mr Gavilan’s musical life. Along side his accomplished classical music career he has enjoyed the privilege of performing with Jazz legends Chick Corea and Gary Burton. This collaboration rendered him a Grammy for the recording of the “Hot House” album as member of the Harlem Quartet.  Mr. Gavilan also performed and commercially released albums with Paquito D’Rivera, Eddie Palmieri and Dafnis Prieto. Other Jazz collaborations include performing with Stanley Clark, Lee Konitz, Henry Threadgill  and Doc Severinsen. Mr. Gavilan has been presented in iconic Jazz venues such as The Blue Note in New York as well as International Montreal Jazz,  Detroit Jazz, Panama Jazz and  Saalfelden Jazz Festivals.

As a recording artist, Mr. Gavilan has numerous recordings with the Harlem quartet as a funding member. In addition to these, Mr. Gavilan’s U.S. Solo recording debut “Aires y Leyendas” and his latest solo album “Por el Mar” solely comprised of music composed by his father Guido Lopez-Gavilan including a violin concerto dedicated to him, are available on Amazon and iTunes.

Mr. Gavilan is an experienced educator, having taught for several years at Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program.  In addition to private students, he has also taught chamber music and given master classes worldwide, most prominently at Música Mundi in Belgium, Soweto Music Academy in South Africa, Eumak Journal Festival in South Korea, and “El Sistema” in several youth orchestras throughout out Venezuela. In the US, Mr. Gavilan has given master classes at Brevard Summer Institute, Eastman School of Music, Interlochen Arts Academy, Walnut Hill School for the Arts,  Berklee School of Music, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Mr. Gavilan’s own academic journey began at the Manuel Saumell Conservatory in his native Havana.  Having won all national competitions in which he participated, Ilmar Gavilán was selected for advanced studies at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow at the age of 14. Through the personal recommendation and royal scholarship of Queen Sofia of Spain, studies took him to the Reina Sofia School of Music in Spain where he studied with Zakhar Bron.
Later studies brought Mr. Gavilan to the Manhattan School of Music in New York City where he studied with Glen Dicterow.  As a founding member of the Harlem Quartet, Mr. Gavilan received a Graduate Diploma in Quartet Performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston. His mentors there included  Donald Weilerstein and Miriam Fried. In addition, Mr. Gavilan received private lessons from legendary Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern and Ruggiero Ricci. Mr. Gavilan has achieved doctoral candidacy at Rutgers University under the mentorship of Arnold Steinhardt.

Mr. Gavilan won first prize at the Sphinx competition, as well as top honors at the Lipinski-Wieniaswski and the Henryk Szeryng International violin competitions.

Ilmar Gavilan, was born to a prominent musical family. His father Guido is a widely recognized composer and conductor, his mother Teresita is a respected pianist and pedagogue. Aldo, his younger brother, is a celebrated pianist and composer, particularly known for his phenomenal improvisations in Classical and Jazz styles.  Ilmar Gavilan’s unique, passionate, and brilliant performances reveal the fulfillment of his heritage and early promise. Today he has a beautiful family of his own and enjoys ocean related activities.

"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

“Simply a genius, a star.” — Chucho Valdés

Praised for his “dazzling technique and rhythmic fire” in the Seattle Times, and dubbed a “formidable virtuoso” by The Times of London, Cuban pianist and composer Aldo López-Gavilán excels in both the classical and jazz worlds as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber-music collaborator, and performer of his own electrifying jazz compositions. He has appeared in such prestigious concert halls as the Amadeo Roldán (Cuba), Teresa Careño (Venezuela), Bellas Artes (Mexico), Carnegie Hall and Jordan Hall (U.S.), Royal Festival Hall (U.K.), Nybrokajen 11 (Sweden), The Hall of Music (Russia), and Duc de Lombard et Petit Journal Montparnasse (France), as well as venues in Canada, Santo Domingo, Colombia, Spain, Greece, Hong Kong, Burkina Faso, Germany, and Austria.

In 2014 López-Gavilán toured the U.S., appearing at Florida’s Miami Dade County Auditorium, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the San Francisco Jazz Festival, and he completed an ASCAP film music workshop under the direction of Robert Kraft at New York University. He also toured extensively in Europe, South America, Canada, and the U.S. with Cuban singer-songwriter Carlos Varela, for whom he wrote all the string arrangements for an award-winning documentary that was broadcast by HBO Latino in the U.S.

A milestone in López-Gavilán’s professional and personal life came in early 2015, when he joined the New York-based Harlem Quartet—co-founded by his brother Ilmar, the quartet’s first violinist—for concerts in Calgary, Seattle, and Phoenix. That same year he was invited to play with his Jazz Quintet at the Centro Cultural Kirchner in Buenos Aires, Argentina; performed Rhapsody in Blue with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá, Colombia; and closed the year with a sold-out concert at the Teatro del Museo de Bellas Artes in Havana.

His partnership with Harlem Quartet continues in summer and fall 2016 with a U.S. tour that includes concerts and residency activities at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Chautauqua Institution, Santa Fe College, Las Vegas’s Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Arts in Beverly Hills. Additional tour concerts by the quintet are in the works for fall 2017 and spring 2018.

During the past decade, López-Gavilán’s collaborators have included some of the greatest artists in the classical, popular music, and jazz fields. The late Claudio Abbado, one of the world’s most celebrated and respected conductors, invited him to perform with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela in 2006, in a special concert dedicated to the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. Maestro Abbado subsequently invited him to perform Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 1 in Caracas and Havana. In 2009 López-Gavilán was invited by Carlos Varela to join his band for a tour of Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay; his acoustic arrangements of the music won many accolades from critics and fans. In 2010 he joined the São Paulo Jazz Symphonic Orchestra to perform his music in a concert that was recorded and broadcast on national television in Brazil.

López-Gavilán’s Carnegie Hall debut took place in November of 2012, when he was invited to participate in the hall’s prestigious “Voces de Latino América” festival. That same month he played a two-piano concert with his colleague Harold López-Nussa in Miami.

Aldo López-Gavilán was born in Cuba to a family of internationally acclaimed classical musicians, his father a conductor and composer, his mother a concert pianist. At the age of two, he had written his first musical composition. By four, his mother introduced the budding prodigy to the piano, and he began formal piano studies at the age of seven. His first international triumph was at the age of eleven when he won a Danny Kaye International Children’s Award, organized by UNICEF.  López-Gavilán made his professional debut at age twelve with the Matanzas Symphony Orchestra. He later went on to perform Prokofiev’s Third Concerto with the National Symphonic Orchestra of Cuba. Parallel to his classical abilities, López-Gavilán developed remarkable skills in improvisation. He was invited to perform in the world-famous Havana Jazz Festival with the legendary Chucho Valdés, who called him “simply a genius, a star.”

His recording career began in 1999 with the CD En el ocaso de la hormiga y el elefante, which won the 2000 Grand Prix at Cubadisco as well as awards in the jazz and first-works categories. In 2005, he was invited to join a group of prestigious Cuban pianists to create an album and documentary in honor of Frank Emilio, Amor y piano. He was also included in a DVD set,  Cuban Pianists: The History of Latin Jazz.

López-Gavilán’s second album, Talking to the Universe, was a success with audiences and critics alike. In 2006, he gave a concert of his newest works that was later turned into his third album, Soundbites. Two years later he was included in a documentary on the history of Latin jazz in Cuba titled ¡Manteca, Mondongo y Bacalao con Pan!, directed by Pavel Giroud. It was in that same year that he recorded his fourth CD, Dimensional, which afforded him the flexibility for more musical experimentation. He was also hired to compose the music for a TV documentary titled El Proceso: la historia no contada. In 2009 he released his fifth album, Aldo López-Gavilán en vivo, and finished his first live DVD, Más allá del ocaso, which included orchestral selections and jazz compositions. He also composed original music for the film Casa vieja by acclaimed Cuban director Lester Hamlet. In May 2012 he released his sixth album, De todos los colores y también verde.

Since December 2014, when a new era in the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba was announced, a lot has happened in the cultural exchange between the two countries. López-Gavilán has played a very active role in this development. In April 2016, through Obama’s President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, he was part of the group of Cuban musicians who collaborated in Cuba with such renowned U.S. artists as Joshua Bell, Usher, Dave Matthews, and Smokey Robinson, A few weeks later López-Gavilán’s music was used to accompany Chanel’s Cruise 2017 Collection—the first fashion show to take place in Havana in recent times—and he partnered with American trumpet virtuoso Byron Stripling in a concert at Havana’s Teatro del Museo de Bellas Artes.

This presentation is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Crane Group.