The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance and Symphony Space in New York City will present pianist/composer Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra on May 14, 2011, at 9:30 PM. The free event is part of Wall to Wall Sonidos, the culmination of a yearlong multi-disciplinary programming initiative focusing on Latino arts and culture at Symphony Space, located at 95th Street and Broadway. The marathon's closing segment, Si Cuba," will feature the world premiere of O'Farrill's A Still Small Voice," a New York State Council on the Arts commission that explores the central beliefs and tales of many religions and philosophies. O'Farrill describes A Still Small Voice" as a hybrid of classical, jazz, and Latin elements focused on the idea of a conscience, a voice inside of us that knows right from wrong."
The work will feature the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra with the 115-voice LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts Senior Chorus, under the direction of Ms. Jana Ballard. The concert will also feature other new works and guest artist/composers, reflecting the future of jazz across the Americas, including Afro Peruvian vocalist Corina Bartra, Galician bagpiper Cristina Pato with famed accordionist Victor Prieto, and a newly commissioned work by Colombian pianist/composer Pablo Mayor. In addition, pianist Vijay Iyer's Mad Hatter," his first work for big band, will be performed.
Says O'Farrill, Being a part of an innovative and quite appropriately functional outreach to the Latino arts community is a thrill. Kudos to Symphony Space's Artistic Director Laura Kaminsky and President & CEO Cynthia Elliott for having the vision and understanding to do what so many arts institutions have failed to do. By creating the Sonidos initiative they have acknowledged the profound impact Latinos are making in New York cultural life and they understand the need for a platform that celebrates our uniqueness even as we celebrate our integration into the larger discussion. Symphony Space is, as usual, flouting all conventional programming formulas and actually programming art in a forward-looking manner! Bravo, bravissimo!"
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 currently in the fourth season of its residency at 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.