Los Hermanos / The Brothers film to be released in theaters and on-demand streaming in the US and Canada on May 14th

“This is an Oscar-caliber film for the family and one not to be missed.”

-Jeffrey Lyons, WCBS Radio

 “Expertly crafted and beautifully paced, like a great piece of music.”

 –Joshua Bell, violinist

The compelling tale of a family disrupted by geopolitics.”
–Peter Keough, The Boston Globe

Virtuoso Afro-Cuban-born brothers—American violinist Ilmar and Cuban pianist Aldo— live on opposite sides of a geopolitical chasm a half century wide. LOS HERMANOS/THE BROTHERS tracks their parallel lives, poignant reunion, and electrifying first performances across the U.S., in a nuanced, often startling view of estranged nations through the lens of music and family.

Featuring a genre-bending score composed by Cuban Aldo Lopez-Gavilan performed with his American brother, Ilmar, and with guest appearances by maestro Joshua Bell and the Grammy-winning Harlem Quartet.


Watch the Trailer

Long-separated Cuban brothers, both virtuoso musicians, to reunite for concert in Pontiac

Duante Beddingfield for Detroit Free Press

Ilmar Gavilán and Aldo López-Gavilán during their 2016 reunion in the United States.

The music of Cuba will be front and center at Pontiac’s Flagstar Strand Theatre Saturday when the Chamber Music Society of Detroit presents the Gavilán Brothers live in concert.

The Cuban-born virtuoso musicians, violinist Ilmar Gavilán and pianist Aldo López-Gavilán, will perform an evening of tunes composed by López-Gavilán and culled from their 2019 album “Brothers,” a flowing, genre-melding project that pulls in elements of classical, Latin jazz, and Afro-Cuban styles.

Both brothers displayed musical talent from the beginning, and by age 14, Ilmar had outgrown his teachers in Cuba and was sent to the Soviet Union for advanced study. He eventually found chamber work in the United States, where he has lived for 20 years while teaching and playing with the Grammy-winning Harlem Quartet. Strained U.S.-Cuban relations meant that the siblings did not see each other for decades, even as Aldo became renowned as one of the island’s finest pianists.

When President Barack Obama relaxed travel restrictions to and from Cuba in late 2014, the brothers believed they might be able to achieve their dream of recording together. Ilmar and his family visited Havana for the first time in many years, and Aldo traveled to the United States to tour and record with Ilmar.

These trips were filmed by documentarians Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider, including an October 2016 Detroit residency by the brothers and the Harlem Quartet that was hosted by the Chamber Music Society. These scenes form the spine of “Los Hermanos – The Brothers,” an emotional, feature-length documentary that will be released nationwide on May 14.

Soon after their Detroit visit, things changed for the brothers. President Donald Trump revived strict rules on travel between the U.S. and Cuba, and relations between the countries grew tense again. “Los Hermanos” keeps the viewer aware of where things are on the timeline of history through onscreen graphics and audio from presidential speeches.

Jarmel, the film’s co-director, said during a call from San Francisco: “When you film real life, you’re only moving forward in linear motion. You can trackback later on, but as doc makers, we can never compete with the news cycle because every issue is constantly changing. Even during the 18 months we were filming, our relations with Cuba changed significantly. Two times.”

Ilmar Gavilán, speaking by phone from New York about U.S.-Cuba relations, said: “I have been in this situation on and off for over 25 years. I do think the only real change is when Congress passes something lifting the embargo, so that it is not depending on who is in power. I’m very optimistic by nature, but when it comes to this, I think I’m slightly more cautious.”

He’s more cheerful, however, when he returns to the topic of playing music with his brother.

“It makes me feel very complete spiritually to be able to do this. … When you take the feelings that are associated with this, the history and the family and the hope — you know, that kind of satisfaction is very rare. It makes everything else in life feel like minutiae.”

On Thursday, two days before the Pontiac concert, the Freep Film Festival and Chamber Music Society of Detroit will partner to present a virtual premiere for “Los Hermanos.” It will be available at no extra charge to concert ticket holders beginning at 7:30 p.m. and will be accessible on demand through midnight Sunday.

Immediately after the Thursday screening, a free and publicly available talk session will stream live on the Detroit Free Press Facebook page. It will feature the brothers, the filmmakers, Chamber Music Society President Steve Wogamon, regional arts and music critic Mark Stryker, and festival representatives.

Saturday night’s duo concert can also be viewed virtually by ticket holders who prefer streaming to attending the Flagstar Strand’s socially distanced performance.

Wogamon said the Chamber Music Society and venue staff got excellent practical experience with social distancing protocols during a live performance last weekend.

“Everyone has to wear a mask, whether they’re vaccinated or not,” he said, “and the mask has to stay on for the whole concert. We do a temperature check at the door, and we’re seating in every other row, with each party separated by three empty seats. We leave the first three rows empty so the artists can take their masks off, so there’s a good 30 feet of separation between the artists and the first audience members.”

As for Gavilán Brothers, Wogamon expresses nothing but awe.

“The thing about Aldo,” he said, “is he’s known as a jazz pianist and composer and is really, really respected in the Cuban jazz genre, but he is every bit at home as a classical pianist. In the film, it shows him playing Rachmaninoff’s third piano concerto, which is one of the half-dozen most difficult pieces in the world for the instrument. … And the Harlem Quartet became Chick Corea’s go-to whenever he needed a string quartet, so you can’t ask for better than Ilmar on the violin.

“There’s the electricity of not just their abilities on the instruments and their passion for the music,” Wogamon said, “but the electricity of these two brothers being able, finally, after so many, many years, to play together independently at the height of their powers.”

Original Article Here

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, boulderphil.org

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) aldomusica.com

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: https://boulderphil.org/season-overview/2019-20-season-announcement