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

Aldo López-Gavilán enthralls in Toulouse, France

Toulouse, France, September 22nd ,2018

Piano aux Jacobins is one of the most celebrated Piano Festivals in Europe. Founded in Toulouse, back in 1979, the event has welcomed some of the best-known pianists in the world, such as: Sviatoslav Richter, Alfred Brendel, Martha Argerich, Gonzales and Murray Perahias.

The festival is a rendezvous of musicians of classical training but also nurtures and celebrates the jazz genre. The festival has also extended to China, with editions in Beijing and Shanghai, as well as in other major Chinese cities, and to Japan (Tokyo and Gifu).

Aldo Lopez-Gavilan is the first Cuban pianist to take part in this prestigious festival and his concert at the gorgeous Auditorium Saint-Pierre des Cuisines on September 21st was one that received many praises from both: the audience and the organizers.

With a program mainly comprised by his compositions (“Un Cubano En Londres”, “Espiral”, “Memorias de un abuelo”, “Oddudua”, “Maracujá”, etc.) but that also included some standards (“Solar” and “Some day my prince will come”), the very talented pianist offered an amazing recital that he appeared to enjoyed as much as the audience in the hall.

His outstanding performance gained him an invitation from the organizers to come back to Toulouse to record an album next year.

—-versión en español—–

Aldo López-Gavilán impresiona en Toulouse, Francia

Toulouse, Francia, 22 de septiembre de 2018

Piano aux Jacobins es uno de los festivales de piano más famosos de Europa. Fundado en Toulouse, en 1979, el evento ha acogido a algunos de los pianistas más conocidos del mundo, como: Sviatoslav Richter, Alfred Brendel, Martha Argerich, Gonzales y Murray Perahias.

El festival es un encuentro de músicos de formación clásica, pero también nutre y celebra el género de jazz. El festival también se ha extendido a China, con ediciones en Beijing y Shanghai, así como en otras ciudades chinas importantes, y en Japón (Tokio y Gifu).

Aldo López-Gavilán es el primer pianista cubano que participa en este prestigioso festival y su concierto en el magnífico Auditorio Saint-Pierre des Cuisines el 21 de septiembre recibió muchos elogios de ambos: el público y los organizadores.

Con un programa compuesto principalmente por sus composiciones (“Un Cubano En Londres”, “Espiral”, “Memorias de un abuelo”, “Oddudua”, “Maracujá”, etc.) pero que también incluía algunos estándares (“Solar” y ” Algún día vendrá mi príncipe “), el pianista muy talentoso ofreció un recital increíble que parecía disfrutar tanto como la audiencia en el salón.

Su destacada actuación le hizo ganar una invitación de los organizadores para volver a Toulouse para grabar un álbum el año que viene.


Aldo López-Gavilán gave a warmly lyrical, effortlessly virtuosic performance of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G

Cuban pianist lights a fire with South Florida Symphony

By David Fleshler

Aldo López-Gavilán performed Ravel's Piano Concerto in G with the South Florida Symphony Sunday night in Boca Raton.

Aldo López-Gavilán performed Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G with the South Florida Symphony Sunday night in Boca Raton.

The Cuban pianist Aldo López-Gavilán gave a warmly lyrical, effortlessly virtuosic performance of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Sunday night in Boca Raton, as the South Florida Symphony Orchestra embarked on a tour of venues along the state’s southeast coast.

Formerly known as the Key West Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra moved from its island birthplace several years ago and now performs at venues from Palm Beach through the Florida Keys. Performing Sunday at Spanish River Worship Center in Boca Raton, the ensemble displayed a big, smoothly efficient string section and well-balanced, agile and resonant woodwinds and brass.

There were glitches here and there, and intonation issues in high exposed passages in the violins. But conducted by Sebrina María Alfonso, the orchestra delivered a well-played, wide-ranging program of Berlioz, Ravel and the Israeli composer Nimrod Borenstein. The program will be repeated at major venues, including Miami’s Arsht Center and Fort Lauderdale’s Broward Center this week.

In the Ravel concerto, López-Gavilán easily handled the technical hurdles, playing with a light, assured virtuosity. But beyond that, he showed a genuine feel for the work’s bluesy melodies, making the most of these emotional high points with a natural warmth and sensitivity. There were a few glitches in the accompaniment, including the rapid opening melody, but in general the orchestra proved a lively and tonally refined partner.

In the long solo that opens the Adagio, López-Gavilán played in a free but flowing manner, bringing out the music’s meditative lyricism without ever letting it lose shape. Flute, oboe and other woodwinds played with great ardor and intensity as their melodies swelled over his running accompaniment in the piano. The brief concluding Presto came off as a quick burst of manic energy, with playing by López-Gavilán that was percussive and pointed, then smooth and fluid.

Sebrina Maria Alonso

Sebrina María Alfonso

Alfonso led a boldly drawn performance of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, giving a dramatic account of this portrait of an artist’s romantic obsession. The theme of the artist’s beloved, which appears throughout the work, came off in strings and woodwinds as a beguiling, free and restless melody, expressing the allure and elusiveness of the object of his obsession.

In the second movement, which portrays a ball, Alonso skillfully led the orchestra through a swirling, mysterious introduction from which the graceful waltz theme emerges. In the March to the Scaffold, in which the opium-addled artist imagines his own execution, Alfonso led a dire, well-controlled buildup, with understated force in the brass. When she finally unleashed the brass, they played with vigor but no rawness.

The last movement, which depicts the protagonist’s opium dream of a witches’ sabbath, was spookily effective. Playing in a light, creepy manner, the orchestra created a sound world of squeaking rats, rattling bones and all the other Halloween effects of Berlioz’s orchestration. The theme of his beloved, appearing here as a hideous participant in the witches’ festivities, came off in the woodwinds as effectively distorted and grotesque.

The surprise of the evening was Nimrod Borenstein’s If You Will It, It Is No Dream, a work inspired by a slogan from the writings of Theodor Herzl, the Zionist movement’s 19th century founder. The work received its U. S.  premiere Sunday to mark the 70th anniversary of the 1948 founding of Israel.

One usually doesn’t have high hopes for such celebratory, ceremonial works. (Beethoven’s Wellington’s Victory may have put more schnitzel on the table than his Eroica and Ninth symphonies combined, but it remained a low point of his compositional career.) But in this case, rather than the usual ponderous pomp, Borenstein wrote a fleet, stormy, engrossing work.

The orchestra’s strings struck up frantic repeated figures that undergirded the work. A smooth, cinematic melody came high in the violins. The minor-key theme moved from instrument to instrument, finally appearing climactically in the brass. Alfonso drove the orchestra in a rapid, forward-leaning manner that gave this well-crafted work a heroic momentum.

The program will be repeated 7:30 pm Tuesday at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Arsht Center in Miami; and 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the TennesseeWilliams Theatre in Key West.