Album “Brothers” by Aldo and Ilmar López-Gavilán nominated for Cubadisco 2021.

Havana, April 24, 2021.

“Brothers”, the first album of the duo integrated by talented Cuban musicians Aldo and Ilmar López-Gavilán, has been nominated in the Instrumental Music category for the 2020 – 2021 Cubadisco Awards. This XXIV edition of the International Fair of Cuban Discography will be held online from May 15 to 23 and will have Spain as a guest country.

Even though each of the López-Gavilán brothers has a solid and fruitful musical career, this is the first time that they have collaborated together on a recording project. Ilmar left Cuba at a very young age to study the violin in the former USSR and later won other scholarships to do higher studies in Spain and the United States, where he has lived for several years. His ascending career includes, in addition to getting a Doctorate in Music, numerous presentations in hundreds of the most prestigious auditoriums in the world, and in 2001 he was the winner of the Sphinx Competition, which earned him performing as a soloist in front of a score of US symphony orchestras. He is the founder and director of the renowned string quartet “Harlem Quartet”, with which he has recorded alongside prominent figures such as John Pattituci, Winton Marsalis and Chick Corea, with the latter the quartet obtained a GRAMMY in 2012.

Aldo, for his part, has been developing his career as a pianist and composer from a very young age, obtaining numerous awards inside and outside of Cuba. He had just finished his higher studies at the prestigious Trinity College in London and was already performing with important orchestras such as the Cuban National Symphony, the New England Conservatory Youth Symphony, the Bogota Philharmonic, the Sao Paulo Jazz + Orchestra and the Orchestra Simón Bolívar Youth Symphony of Venezuela, the latter under the direction of Maestro Claudio Abbado. To date, he has performed as a soloist with more than ten prestigious orchestras in the US, and his discography includes 13 albums, of which 5 have received nominations and awards in previous editions of Cubadisco, including “El Ocaso De La Hormiga y El Elefante.”, which was the winner of the Cubadisco Grand Prize in 2000.

During the opening to the cultural exchange that the administration of President Barack Obama led, the brothers were able for the first time to make an extensive musical tour throughout the United States, and Aldo also made other important collaborations with American musicians such as Dave Matthews, Jackson Browne, Byron Stripling , among others. One of these collaborations resulted in a live television concert (Live at Lincoln Center: Seasons of Cuba), led by the famous violinist Joshua Bell, and broadcast and produced by the PBS network, which was nominated for the EMMY Awards in 2017.

The album “Brothers”, a family project dreamed of for decades, finally found its moment of gestation in New York in July 2019, after several months of touring, and was recorded at Oktaven Studios. This phonogram includes 10 songs, all authored by Aldo, and with masterful arrangements for piano and violin by both brothers.

This album musically crystallizes the family, artistic and spiritual union of Ilmar and Aldo, and was in turn the culmination of a documentary entitled “Los Hermanos / The Brothers”, made by American producers and directors Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider, which has been presented to date in twelve festivals in the US, recently broadcast by PBS with a global reach in the North American country and presented by the prestigious Carnegie Hall in April. The feature film emphasizes through music that, despite the separation and geopolitical differences of the countries where the two brothers reside, the art and feelings that unite them do not have and will never have borders.

After a long pause imposed by the global health crisis, Aldo and Ilmar met again this week in the US to continue promoting their CD “Brothers”, which will soon be available on digital platforms. The tour will include concerts (virtually or with a small audience) in cities such as Detroit, Michigan, Napa, Chicago, Minnesota, New York, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, among others.

Buy the album Brothers here now

Aldo López-Gavilán revives touring partnership with Grammy Award Winner The Harlem Quartet

For the 2021-22 season and beyond, Harlem Quartet will once again be sharing the stage with famed Cuban pianist/composer Aldo López-Gavilán—younger brother of the quartet’s first violinist, Ilmar Gavilán—in a collaboration rekindling the joyously energetic concert experience that these five musicians brought to such cities as Seattle, Phoenix, Calgary, Washington, Houston, Denver, Tucson, Rockport (MA), and Chautauqua (NY) in the years between 2015 and 2018.

López-Gavilán, praised for his “dazzling technique and rhythmic fire” in the Seattle Times, and dubbed a “formidable virtuoso” by The Times of London, excels in both the classical and jazz worlds, and his concerts with the quartet showcase scintillating chemistry in a broad variety of repertoire. Program offerings will include not only string quintets from the classical canon but American jazz, bossa nova, and, of course, original compositions from López-Gavilán that take audiences on a journey through Cuba’s myriad musical traditions.

It is expected that some venues booking the quintet will pair a concert with a screening of the new documentary Los Hermanos / The Brothers, which tells the story of Aldo and Ilmar, tracking their shared childhood, their momentous first performances together, and their parallel lives as musicians. A Patchwork Films production by Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider, it includes concert footage of the quintet, a genre-bending score composed by Aldo, and guest appearances by such legendary musicians as Joshua Bell, Smokey Robinson, and Dave Matthews. Los Hermanos is screening at film festivals worldwide and will be nationally broadcast on PBS in the fall of 2021.

For Booking Inquiries about the Quintet, please contact us here


Aldo López-Gavilán invited to the star studded event “One Night Many Voices”by Fest Napa Valley.

A star-studded roster of artists will perform online on Saturday July 25th at 7:00 PM PT, in this one-night only concert.

Curated by Festival Napa Valley and recorded specially for this occasion, One Night, Many Voices features festival favorites Joshua Bell with soprano Larisa Martínez; tenor Michael Fabiano; soprano Nadine Sierra; pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet; and the sensational Young People’s Chorus of New York City.

The concert culminates with a swinging jazz performance by pianist Aldo López-Gavilán and his band – direct from Havana, Cuba.

Aldo López-Gavilán honored as the composer in residence at Habana Clásica Festival III.

La Habana, November 5th, 2019

The third edition of the Classic Havana event, to be held from November 10th to 24th, promises an exceptional encounter with the best of that kind in Cuba and the world, as announced in a press conference.

Thanks to the promotion and coordination management of its general director, pianist Marcos Madrigal, Havana will celebrate its 500th anniversary with maximum exponents of that music in a varied and rich program. The event is organized by the Esteban Salas Musical Heritage Cabinet, from the Office of the Historian of the City (OHC).

The interaction of classical music with contemporary Cuban music is one of the main objectives planned for this occasion. The important classical chamber repertoire that distinguishes the festival will be intertwined with everything that is happening in our musical and cultural reality in general, Marcos said.

Aldo López-Gavilán Junco will be the composer in residence of this edition of Habana Clásica. The talented pianist will share several of his works – some as a premiere, along with other premieres of his father, Guido López-Gavilán. Several works dedicated specifically to the Festival will also be released. On November 16th, at 9:00 p.m., in the Minor Basilica of the Convent of San Francisco de Asís, a concert will be dedicated to López-Gavilán’s music. The first part will be dedicated to Stravinski, with Aldo’s performances alongside the violinist Alicia Abreu and Alejandro Calzadilla (clarinet). The second part will be a premiere of a work by Aldo.

The program, ambitious and rich so as not to lose a single one of its activities, proposes concerts, operas and presentations of dance companies, with the prominence of contemporary dance.


‘Bamboozling’ piece anchors Boulder Phil concert

Cuban composer Aldo López-Gavilán performs his ‘Emporium’

Michael Butterman, conductor of the Boulder Philharmonic, was sitting in his driveway, thinking “What on earth is going on?”

“It was just an amazing mix,” he says of the music he was hearing on American Public Media’s radio program Performance Today. “I was trying to guess what it was. Whatever it was, it was exciting and intriguing.”

It turned out to be Emporium for piano and orchestra by Cuban pianist/composer Aldo López-Gavilán, and Butterman decided he wanted to perform the piece with the composer on the Boulder Phil’s season.

The title gave Butterman the key to the wildly eclectic style of the piece. “When they said that the title was Emporium,” he says, “I thought, OK, it’s a cornucopia. It has influences from every possible genre and place that I could imagine.”

The title also suggested to Butterman that one could play almost anything with it, but he settled on music that had a stylistic relationship to López-Gavilán’s Latin American roots: Tangazo by Astor Piazzolla, the Variaciones Concertantes by Alberto Ginastera and Ravel’s Boléro.

Reflecting the eclecticism of his score, López-Gavilán performs many different kinds of music. He appears as a guest artist with orchestras, including performances of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic last April, and plays jazz both as a solo pianist and with the Harlem Quartet, whose first violinist is his brother Ilmar Gavilán.

Butterman’s description of Emporium is intriguing and mind-bending. “It sounded like a little bit of Philip Glass, and there were moments that sounded like the Downton Abbey soundtrack,” he says. “In the last movement I thought this is almost like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen, or Prokofiev. It was like all of those different things.

“He’s hard to categorize. I love that about him.”

López-Gavilán confirms the significance of the title. In his program notes, he writes, “I named it Emporium because I wanted to describe a place where you could find many different things from all over the planet.”

The first movement is based on a tune the composer wrote as a birthday present for his twin daughters. The second includes post-revolutionary Cuban songs and American country music songs, combined to symbolize peace. The finale is highly rhythmic and polytonal, bringing together music from all three movements and ending in a grand final statement of the main theme.

Butterman suggests that Emporium is not an easy piece to play, at one point describing it as “bamboozling” in the way it mixes meters and rhythms. “It looks incredibly challenging,” he says. “The outer movements [are] very rapid [with] a lot of figuration, a lot of mixed meter, where the meter feels one way and syncopated against it is something quite different.

“That makes it challenging for us on stage, but it’s always exciting to have a composer involved in the performance of a work like this.”

Of the other works on the program, Ravel’s Boléro is certainly the best known. The score’s long, slow buildup over a single repeating melody is notoriously hypnotic. “It’s all about pacing and concentration, and maintaining intensity,” Butterman says.

Tangazo by the Argentinian tango master Piazzolla is a piece that Butterman has done many times, including his first year in Boulder. “It’s one of the few things I’ve repeated in my time here as music director,” he says. “I love it. It takes us through a wide range of tempos and unusual sounds for a symphony orchestra: ‘whip’ effects, quick glissandos up, tapping on the instrument.”

Tangazo will be accompanied by a pair of dancers, Gustavo Naveira and Giselle Anne of the Boulder Tango Studio, performing in front of the orchestra. “I don’t know what they will do,” Butterman says, “but I’m always interested in hybrid art forms and bringing different elements into concerts.”

Ginastera’s Variaciones Concertantes is a notoriously difficult piece, with separate variations for individual players in the orchestra that are often featured on advanced auditions. “It’s one of those pieces that gives all the principal players a chance to do something rather impressive,” Butterman says.

“The variations are all over the place in their tempos and style, everything from very subdued and lyrical in the horn, kind of rhythmic and accented in the trombone and trumpet, and flying all over the place virtuosic in the clarinet and flute. And perpetual motion for the concertmaster.

“It’s a piece that there’s a lot of variety packed into a short time,” he says. “To me it’s a very appealing piece, but one that is extremely demanding for the orchestra.”

ON THE BILL: ‘Latin Fire and Boléro’ Boulder Philharmonic. Michael Butterman, conductor with Aldo Lopez-Gavilán, pianist/composer. Gustavo Naveira and Giselle Anne, tango dancers. Astor Piazzolla: ‘Tangazo.’ Lopez-Gavilán: ‘Emporium’ for piano and orchestra. Alberto Ginastera: ‘Variaciones Concertantes’ Ravel: ‘Boléro.’ 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, Macky Auditorium, 1595 Pleasant St., Boulder. Tickets: 303-449-1343,

Aldo Lopez-Gavilan came out next to lead Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto, earning a standing ovation after just the first movement

What is Tampa Bay? Florida Orchestra’s season opener seeks an answer

Friday’s opening night portrayed Tampa as a melting pot, delivering diverse pieces pulled from around the world. | Concert review

Music director Michael Francis leads the Florida Orchestra in the Star-Spangled Banner on Friday during the season-opening program at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. [JAY CRIDLIN | Tampa Bay Times]

By Jay Cridlin
Published Sep. 28

If you had to summarize Florida, and Tampa Bay especially, in just a few words, you could do worse than the three Michael Francis chose Friday night: “Eclectic and unique.”

Sure, that’s one way to put lipstick on a grouper. The Gulf Coast is a tough place to sum up, especially in the lyricless realm of classical music, where the word Margaritaville rarely comes into play.

But that was the mission of the Masterworks program opening the Florida Orchestra’s 2019-20 season, performed Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.

Francis, the orchestra’s music director, curated a diverse global program aimed at portraying Tampa Bay as a cultural melting pot. But with no Florida composers on the program — nor even a single Gasparilla pirate shanty — how Tampa could this program really be?

It opened with George Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, which was promising, a silly, cinematic slice of Havana in the ’30s. There is no evening that can’t be enlivened through that little Latin loony tune. Just like Gershwin preferred, Francis had four percussionists (maracas, bongos, claves and a guiro) come right down front to infuse the rhythm with minty little clicks and clatters. And right off the bat, the crowd got its dose of vintage Ybor City.

Cuban pianist Aldo Lopez-Gavilan came out next to lead Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto, earning a standing ovation after just the first movement (“Two more!” a grinning Francis yelled above the crowd). He performed with superhuman dexterity, his higher keys twinkling like glass wind chimes, the fluff of his Sideshow Bob hairdo bouncing and flouncing as the force of his fingers pushed him up off the bench.

Cuban pianist Aldo Lopez-Gavilan welcomes an ovation after performing Friday with the Florida Orchestra at the
David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. [JAY CRIDLIN | Tampa Bay Times]

Lopez-Gavilan’s Cuban heritage aside, the Grieg didn’t have much of a tonal link to Tampa. Nor, at first blush, did Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, the first of many Beethoven selections this season and next.

Leonore comes from Beethoven’s only opera, the not-widely-loved Fidelio. In spotlighting that aspect of the great composer’s life, Francis cast a light on an area often overlooked by the rest of the world — a sensation to which more than a few Tampans might relate. With its playful string volleys and Rob Smith’s faraway trumpet solo emanating from the balcony lobby, Leonore built to a furious finish, with Francis up on his toes, tuxedo tail flailing out behind him.

The night closed with numbers new and old. The new: American composer Mason Bates’ Mothership, an innovatively orchestrated piece that made creative use of percussion, harp and improvised trombone, trumpet, xylophone and E-flat clarinet solos. It sounded like the score to a sci-fi thriller. The old: Maurice Ravel’s Bolero, a slow-building cycle through variations on a theme: Sultry, whimsical, noble, exotic. Principal percussionist John Shaw deserves an Ironman medal for the dogged discipline of his 15-minute snare-drum crescendo, rising from barely perceptible taps to a crash-boom-bang finale.

So you had a Frenchman from the northern Basque (Ravel) leaning into the sound of neighboring Spain; a Brooklynite (Gershwin) borrowing from the Caribbean; a hearing-impaired German (Beethoven) dabbling in the one discipline where he wasn’t considered a master. Did it all add up to Tampa in 2019?

Look, it’s all kindling for the fire that melts the stuff in the pot. Distinctions of backgrounds and borders may not matter. Just look at Lopez-Gavilan, who, upon crushing Grieg’s Norwegian folk masterpiece, brought in yet another cross-cultural perspective, encoring with an off-book number of his own.

“I know there is a lot of history between Tampa and Havana,” Lopez-Gavilan said, introducing Espiral, a marvelously upbeat song “inspired by this relationship.”

Did it scream Tampa Bay like a Cuban with salami? Not especially. But it was eclectic and unique. And if that’s not this town in a nutshell, what is?



This article was published at:

“BROTHERS” by Aldo & Ilmar López-Gavilán, a long-overdue album, is now out.

New York, August 30th — Two of today’s most gifted Cuban musicians have reunited after decades of separation under the artistic name “Gavilan Brothers.” The product of their collaboration is now available, a richly layered, much-anticipated album, “Brothers.”

The siblings were born in Havana, Cuba in a family of very well-known musicians, but at the age of 14, Ilmar, the older brother and a violin child prodigy, was sent to the former Soviet Union to study. He later moved to the United States via Spain, where he studied with Glenn Dicterow, earned a Doctorate in musical arts, co-founded the Grammy award-winning Harlem Quartet, and collaborated with such greats as Itzhak Perlman, and Chick Corea.

Aldo, also a child music phenomenon, began studying the piano in Cuba but early on won a scholarship to continue his education at the prestigious Trinity College Music Conservatory in London, England. He later returned to Cuba where he established himself as an acclaimed pianist and composer to perform in many of the most prestigious venues around the world.

Their very busy and successful careers, as well as the strained Cuba-US relationship, kept them apart for many years, and it was only until very recently that they had the opportunity to perform together in the USA, during a series of concerts that brought them to many prestigious concert halls.

It was very clear for the brothers, that they couldn’t wait any longer to record an album together and as soon as their last tour finished, they booked studio time in New York and got to work on it.

The result is an amazing album comprising 11 tracks, all composed by Aldo. While some of the compositions were previously recorded and appear on Aldo’s previous records, this is the first time they have been arranged by Ilmar for just piano and violin and recorded for this intimate format.

“Brothers,” the album’s title is a new composition and also the main piece of a documentary’s soundtrack (“Los Hermanos/The Brothers“) that narrates the story of them and has been slated for release in 2020.

Buy the album Brothers here now

For more information, please contact:

Graffiti Music Group Ltd.
Tel.: +1 416 854 3448
gavilanbrothers (at)

Aldo López-Gavilán will bring his “Emporium” to Boulder, Colorado next November.

La Habana, June 26th, 2019

Rising-star Cuban pianist and composer Aldo López-Gavilán has been invited to perform his 2017 concerto “Emporium” with the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra at the Macky Auditorium on November 3rd.

Founded in 1958, the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra is creating a new model for American orchestras through dynamic performances that reflect their community’s own values, creativity, and sense of place. Voted “Best of Boulder” for the past six years in a row, today’s Boulder Phil is bucking national trends with growing, enthusiastic audiences under the vision and leadership of Music Director Michael Butterman.

Emporium had its world premiere last year when the talented pianist performed it with the Classical Tahoe Festival’s orchestra conducted by maestro Joel Revzen. A recording of the live performance was later broadcasted by PBS radio and since, the artist has received many praises about his first concerto, as well as several invitations to perform it with other well know orchestras in Cuba, Colombia, France, and the United States.

Tickets for this concert can be purchased at:



Aldo López-Gavilán returns to the Martí Theater with a list of renown guests.

Havana, May 18, 2019
Photo by Jose V Gavilondo
The outstanding pianist and composer Aldo López-Gavilán, will return to the Martí Theater of the capital on Sunday, June 2 at 5 pm. On this occasion, in addition to his band’s musicians (Julio César González on bass, Ruy Adrián López-Nussa on drums and Alejandro Calzadilla on saxophone and clarinet); he has invited other renowned musicians to share the stage with him; in what promises to be another memorable concert.

The Chamber Orchestra of Havana, conducted by Maestra Daiana García, Harold Lopez-Nussa and the young Rodrigo García on the keyboards, the Ensemble Vocal Luna choir, conducted by Maestra Wilmia Verrier, Mayquel González on the trumpet, Yaroldy Abreu on Afro-Cuban percussion and Rodrigo Mompellier on guitar; will accompany López-Gavilán and his band to perform some of his most popular compositions, but also new works, such as Divagación, his first choral creation.

Since his last concert in the beautiful theater in Havana, three years ago, the pianist has performed almost a hundred presentations in the United States, along with some of the major orchestras in that country, as well as participating in other prestigious events such as world-famous Aux Jacobins Piano Festival in Toulouse, France, where he received as a prize the recording of an album that will soon be released under the label of the festival itself.

Another important milestone of his recording career has been the recording of the “Brothers” album, earlier this year in New York, together with his brother the virtuoso violinist Ilmar López-Gavilán, which includes arrangements for piano and violin of some of his most popular compositions such as: Carpenter Bird, City Friday and Trees in the Air; in addition to Hermanos, a specially composed work for the documentary with the same name, that the production company Patchworks Films of San Francisco has made about the life and artistic career of Cuban musicians.

Tickets for the concert will be on sale starting Tuesday, May 28.


A spectator reacts to Aldo’s performance of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” in Florida.

Good morning Mr. Gavilan,

I am writing to you because on Saturday, January 5, 2019, I attended a concert with the Florida Orchestra in Saint Petersburg Florida. George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue was featured and because I am very much an obsessed admirer of Mr. Gershwin and his music, I never miss a live performance if I can attend.

I own probably more than 40 recorded versions of Rhapsody in Blue and I have attended dozens of live concerts where the piece was featured. I also was able to play a reasonable facsimile of it in my younger piano playing days.

But I can tell you without hesitation that your interpretation on that Jan. 4 concert was for me the absolute number one I have ever heard. I fully understand that Gershwin is a very unique composer who still to this day is not easy to categorize especially when it comes to his more extended compositions. However, more often than not, musicians and orchestras tend to toss off those pieces as mere Broadway based entertainment. But your performance (and the orchestra’s) was a true very serious interpretation of the piece. Even your personal “cadenza” was of the utmost taste and respect.

In other words I was totally enchanted and came out of that concert with only two wishes: that somehow your interpretation could be made available on CD and that someday we may have the pleasure of hearing your interpretation of Gershwin’s Concerto in F.

Your talent is truly amazing and I can only wish you continued success and thank you for that marvelous concert!

Best regards,

Michel (Mike) LeBlanc