Elio Villafranca

Elio Villafranca, composer and pianist, was born in Pinar del Rio, Western Cuba. He received his classical training in percussion and composition from the Instituto Superior de Arte, Havana, Cuba. He has been active in both jazz and Latin jazz scene on the East and West Coasts since his arrival in the U.S. late 1995. He is a resident professor at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. Elio is based in New York City and has made significant creative contributions to international jazz development for many years. He was nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2010 Grammy Awards. This award was for his performance, composition, and coproduction on the album Things I Wish To Do by Chembo Corniel. As a bandleader, he has released three albums that have been well received. His last album, The Source in Between, 2007, remained in the top 10 of the JazzWeek World Top 50 Chart for eleven weeks, and his first album, Incantations/Encantaciones, was ranked amongst the 50 best jazz albums of the year by JazzTimes magazine in 2003. The Jazz Corner nominated Elio Villafranca as the pianist of the year in 2008. He also received the Jazz Twirlie Nomination from Dick Crockett of 88.7FM for his album The Source Between. BMI awarded Mr. Villafranca the BMI Jazz Guaranty Award. He also received the NFA/Heineken Green Ribbon Master Artist Music grant for his Concerto for Mariachi for Afro-Cuban Percussion Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra. Villafranca was also a pianist on the CD La Guerra No, by John Santos El Coro Folklorico Kindembo. It was nominated for the Grammy Awards 2010 as the Best Traditional World Music Album. Elio Villafranca has had the privilege of playing jazz masters such as Pat Martino and Jane Bunnett, Terell Stafford, Eric Alexander, and many other notable instrumentalists over the years. As a leader of his quartet and sideman, Elio has performed internationally and nationally. He has also collaborated with top jazz and Latin jazz musicians such as Wynton Marsalis, Jon Faddis, Sonny Fortune and Giovanni Hidalgo. Villafranca has toured Europe, performing at many world-renowned venues and events, including the Blue Note Jazz Festival, Ghent, Belgium, and the Blue Note Jazz Club, Milan, and the Umbria Jazz Festival, Perugia, Italy. He has also performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival, The Hague, Holland; the Guinness Jazz Festival, and a national tour through Ireland. from www.eliovillafranca.net

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