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Afro Latin Jazz Alliance Appoints Eric Oberstein as Executive Director

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Eric is a perfect fit for the Alliance. He shares both the heritage and passion for the music, and he brings extensive administrative experience to his role as Executive Director of our organization.
NEW YORK—Arturo O'Farrill, Director of the GRAMMY Award-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO), announced today the appointment of Eric Oberstein, a distinguished arts administrator, producer, and educator, as Executive Director of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA), the non-profit O'Farrill created in 2007 to provide institutional support for the ALJO. Oberstein will commence his post as of August 2010.

“It is with extreme pride that we appoint Eric Oberstein as Executive Director of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance," said O'Farrill. “Not only has Eric been a supporter of the music of the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra for several years, but most important, he is an integral part of the foundation of this organization. I have complete confidence that he will take us far into the future and beyond. I could not possibly be happier."

Oberstein brings several years of arts administration and education experience to his new position. He has worked at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Duke Performances, the Office for the Arts at Harvard, and the Research Center for Arts and Culture. He has received Master's degrees in Arts Administration and Arts in Education from Columbia University and Harvard University, respectively. He also earned his undergraduate degree with distinction from Duke University. Oberstein has written a chapter about the Creative Campus and university arts engagement that will appear in the highly anticipated, forthcoming book, 20UNDER40: Re-Inventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century, a collection of twenty essays about the future of the arts and arts education, each written by an emerging leader under the age of forty.

Originally from Long Island, Oberstein is a musician himself, playing both saxophone and percussion. Born to a Cuban mother and American father, he grew up listening to and playing Latin and jazz music. His background in music led him to work with O'Farrill and the ALJO as a producer in the studio. He is currently serving as Executive Producer on the forthcoming album from the Orchestra, 40 Acres and a Burro. He also served as Assistant Producer on O'Farrill's 2009 release, Risa Negra, named one of the top jazz albums of 2009 by The Wall Street Journal and The Village Voice.

ALJA board member James Wacht remarked, “Eric is a perfect fit for the Alliance. He shares both the heritage and passion for the music, and he brings extensive administrative experience to his role as Executive Director of our organization."

“It is a great honor to be named Executive Director of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance," Oberstein stated. “This is a tremendous opportunity to manage a fine organization and a world-class performance ensemble. I look forward to working with Arturo and the board of directors to lead this organization into the future, building upon its performance, education, and preservation efforts that are so dear to my heart."

Founded in 2007, the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance is dedicated to preserving the music and heritage of big band Latin Jazz, supporting its performance for new audiences, and educating young people in the understanding and performance of this important cultural treasure. The Alliance maintains a world-class collection of Latin jazz musical scores and recordings, provides institutional support for the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, and provides education programs for young musicians and new audiences. From 2002 to 2007, the ALJO was a resident orchestra at Jazz at Lincoln Center, where it earned a GRAMMY nomination for its 2005 album, Una Noche Inolvidable. The Orchestra is entering the fourth season of its residency at its new home on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Symphony Space. The ALJO continues to tour nationally and internationally to critical acclaim. In 2009, the ALJO won a GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Jazz Album for its release, Song for Chico.

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