Arturo O’Farrill, pianist, composer and educator, was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. He received his formal musical education at the Manhattan School of Music and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. Arturo’s professional career began with the Carla Bley Band and continued as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis and Harry Belafonte. Arturo is a member of the faculties of both the Manhattan School of Music and the School of Jazz at the New School.
In 2007 he founded the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the performance, education, and preservation of Afro Latin music. (Learn more about ALJA at www.afrolatinjazz.org.)
In December 2010 Arturo traveled with the original Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra to Cuba, returning his father’s musicians to his homeland. He continues to travel to Cuba regularly as an informal Cultural Ambassador, working with Cuban musicians, dancers and students, and bringing local musicians from Cuba to the U.S. and American musicians to Cuba.
During 2016-18 Arturo has performed with orchestras and bands including his own Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and Boss Level Sextet, as well as other Orchestras and smaller ensembles in the U.S., Europe, Russia, Australia and South America.
An avid supporter of all the arts, Arturo has performed with Ballet Hispanico and the Malpaso Dance Company, for whom he has written three ballets. In addition, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company is touring a ballet entitled Open Door, choreographed by Ron Brown to several of Arturo’s compositions and recordings. Ron Brown’s own Evidence Dance Company has commissioned Arturo to compose New Conversations, which premiered summer of 2018 at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, MA.
Arturo has received commissions from Meet the Composer, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Philadelphia Music Project, The Apollo Theater, Symphony Space, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Young Peoples Chorus of New York and the New York State Council on the Arts.
Arturo O’Farrill’s well-reviewed and highly praised “Afro-Latin Jazz Suite” from the album CUBA: The Conversation Continues (Motéma) won the 2016 Grammy® Award for Best Instrumental Composition, and CUBA itself the 2016 Latin Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. His powerful “Three Revolutions” from the album Familia – Tribute to Chico and Bebo was the 2018 Grammy® Award (his sixth) winner for Best Instrumental Composition.