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Guest Artist: Arturo Sandoval

Arturo Sandoval is fluent in at least four musical languages. With equal power and grace, he can burn through an Afro-Cuban groove, tear up a bebop tune, soar over a Mozart concerto, or sooth you with a sinuous ballad.

After being granted political asylum in July 1990 and U.S. citizenship in 1999, Sandoval and his family now call Miami their home. A protégé of the legendary jazz master Dizzy Gillespie, Sandoval was born in Artemisa, a small town in the outskirts of Havana, Cuba, on Nov. 6, 1949, just two years after Gillespie became the first musician to bring Latin influences into American jazz.  Sandoval began studying classical trumpet at the age of 12, but it didn’t take him long to catch the excitement of the jazz world. He has since evolved into one of the world’s most acknowledged masters of jazz trumpet and flugelhorn, as well as a renowned classical artist, pianist, and composer.

Sandoval was a founding member of the Grammy Award-winning group Irakere, whose explosive mixture of jazz, classical, rock, and traditional Cuban music caused a sensation throughout the entertainment world. In 1981, he left Irakere to form his own band, which garnered enthusiastic praise from critics and audiences all over the world.  Sandoval was voted Cuba’s Best Instrumentalist from 1982 to 1990.

Sandoval has been awarded 10 Grammy Awards, six Billboard Awards, and an Emmy Award. The latter was for his composition of the entire underscore for the HBO movie based on his life, For Love or Country, which starred Andy Garcia.  He is one of the most dynamic live performers of our time, and he has recently been seen by millions as he performed with the multi-talentedl Justin Timberlake at the Grammys and with the gifted Alicia Keys at the Latin Billboard Awards (where he was awarded his sixth award, this time for Best Latin Jazz Album).

Sandoval is a tenured professor at Florida International University, and he works nationally and internationally with innumerable institutions and their music departments offering scholarships, exercise books, clinics and seminars; he has also logged considerable time working with the NARAS educational program. Furthermore, Hal Leonard Publishing has released educations books with recorded CDs that include original exercises by Sandoval, and has published various big-band, combo, and marching-band charts from his award-winning albums. Sandoval maintains one of the most extensive educational programs in the industry.

He is also a renowned classical musician, performing regularly with the world's leading symphony orchestras. He composed Concerto for Trumpet & Orchestra, which can be heard on Arturo Sandoval: The Classical Album. He has been chosen to perform with the foremost orchestras on primetime television, and he was asked by John Williams to record on Williams’ original Trumpet Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra. Sandoval's classical artistry has earned him the respect and admiration of music's most prestigious conductors, composers and symphony orchestras.

Sandoval’s versatility can be heard on recordings with some of the greats: Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Woody Shaw, Michel Legrand, Bill Conti, Stan Getz, Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka, Rod Stewart and Alicia Keys, among many others.  He has performed with Celine Dion at the Oscars, with John Williams and the Boston Pops, and at the Super Bowl with Tony Bennett and Patti LaBelle.  His playing can also be heard on Dave Grusin’s soundtrack for Havana, on the Mambo Kings soundtrack with his Grammy-nominated composition Mambo Caliente, and on the soundtrack of The Perez Family. Sandoval was commissioned by the Kennedy Center to compose the music for the ballet of Pepito’s Story, choreographed by Debbie Allen,  and, as mentioned above, he was awarded an Emmy for his composition of the entire underscore of For Love or Country.

Sandoval's work reaches far beyond the scope of mere effort. He says that his struggles while in Cuba and since his defection have given him more energy and strength, spurring him on to accomplish and surpass his childhood dreams. A genuine virtuoso, he desires nothing more than to share his gift with others who feel the same intense love for music that he feels. Critics speak of Sandoval’s technical mastery and his specialty in high notes, but those who have seen him on the piano, lyrically improvising a ballad, or have had the opportunity to enjoy the diversity of his music -- through his compositions from the most straight-ahead jazz, Latin jazz or classical music -- knows that Sandoval is a consummate musician. In fact, he is one of the most brilliant and prolific musicians of our time.