Aldo López-Gavilán

Photo credit: Paul E. Richardson

 

Aldo López-Gavilán was born in Cuba to a family of internationally acclaimed classical musicians. By the age of two, the young Aldo had written his first musical composition. By four, his mother introduced the budding child prodigy to the piano. He began his formal piano studies at the age of seven. His first international triumph was at the age of 11, when he won the Danny Kaye International Children’s Award, organized by UNICEF. He made his professional debut at the age of 12 with the Matanzas Symphony Orchestra. Parallel to his classical abilities, López-Gavilán developed remarkable improvisational skills. He was invited to perform in the world-famous Havana Jazz Festival with legend Chucho Valdés, who called López-Gavilán “simply a genius, a star.”

In 1999, he recorded his first CD, En el ocaso de la hormiga y el elefante, which won the 2000 Grand Prix at Cubadisco; it also received awards in the jazz and first-works categories. His 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. He was also invited by Claudio Abbado to perform as soloist in a special concert dedicated to the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth, in which he was accompanied by the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. The following year, Abbado invited him to perform Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 1 in Caracas and Havana.

In 2008, López-Gavilán 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 that same year that he recorded his fourth CD, Dimensional, which afforded him the flexibility for more musical experimentation. He has also composed music for such documentaries as El Proceso: la historia no contada. His fifth album, Aldo López-Gavilán en vivo, was released in 2009. He finished his first live DVD, Más allá del ocaso, which included orchestral selections and jazz compositions. He also composed original music for Cuban director Lester Hamlet’s film Casa vieja. This year, he became a member of renowned singer-songwriter Carlos Varela’s band for a South American tour and also recorded his sixth album, De todos los colores y también verde.