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Aires Tropicales by Paquito D’Rivera
Cinque Suite by Elio Villafranca

Elio Villafranca’s Latin Jazz Trio with members of the Bronx Arts Ensemble explore music from the Afro – Cuban diaspora, featuring Villafranca’s “Cinque Suite”

Bronx Arts Ensemble (BAE) musicians join guest artist Elio Villafranca to perform selections from his work Cinqué, which traces musical traditions from Africa to the Caribbean to the Bronx. Bronx resident, born and raised in Cuba, Villafranca was inspired by the story of Joseph Cinqué, a West African of the Mende people, who led a successful revolt aboard the slave ship, La Amistad. Music for this concert reflects the backgrounds of many of the people who live in the Bronx, showcasing melodies, dances and rhythms of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, The Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Africa.The Villafranca Trio and the BAE Woodwind Quintet will perform excerpts from Cinqué: The Capture, Troubled Waters, and La Burla de Los Congos.

The Villafranca Trio
Elio Villafranca, piano
Ricky Rodriguez, bass
Arturo Stable, percussion/drums

BAE’s Woodwind Quintet
Theresa Norris, flute
William Meredith, oboe
Mitchell Kriegler, clarinet
Rheagan Osteen, horn
Atsuko Sato, bassoon

Born in the Pinar del Río province of Cuba, Elio Villafranca was classically trained in percussion and composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana.

Since his arrival in the U.S. in 1995, Elio Villafranca has been at the forefront of a generation of remarkable pianists, composers and bandleaders. Last year he was among 5 pianists chosen by Chick Corea to perform at the first Chick Corea Jazz Festival at JALC. His Letters to Mother Africa was selected by NYC Jazz Records as one of the top concerts of 2016. He also received a 2010 Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year.  Mr. Villafranca was honored with the BMI Jazz Guaranty Award, and received the first NFA/Heineken Green Ribbon Master Artist Music Grant for the creation of Concerto for Mariachi for Afro-Cuban percussion and orchestra. His first album, Incantations/Encantaciones, featuring Pat Martino, Terell Stafford and Dafnis Prieto, was ranked among the 50 best jazz albums of the year by JazzTimes magazine in 2003.

Elio Villafranca’s new album Caribbean Tinge (Motema) received a 2014 Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik nomination (German Records Critics Award), as well as selection by JazzTimes and Downbeat magazines for features in their Editor’s Pick sections.

Over the years Elio Villafranca has recorded and performed nationally and internationally as a leader with jazz artists Pat Martino, Terell Stafford, Billy Hart, Paquito D’Rivera, Eric Alexander, Lewis Nash and David Murray. As a sideman Mr. Villafranca has collaborated with leading jazz artists Wynton Marsalis, Chick Corea, Jon Faddis, Billy Harper, Miguel Zenón and Johnny Pacheco. Based in New York City, he is a faculty member at Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard School of Music, as well as Temple University in Philadelphia.

Ricky Rodriguez

Ricardo “Ricky” Rodríguez was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where he received his Bachelor of Music in classical bass performance under professors Federico Silva and Jose García at the Conservatory of Music in 2004. Ricky then moved to New York City where he studied jazz with Larry Grenadier and Scott Colley. Within a year, he was performing with internationally distinguished musicians David Sánchez, Branford Marsalis, the Miguel Zenón Quartet, Mayra Casales, Papo Vázquez and Pirates Troubadours, Pleneros de la 21, Chico O’ Farrill Afro-Cuban Big Band and Arturo O’Farrill’s Latin Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra.

In 2006, Ricky represented the United States alongside 150 groups that participated in a world tour – The Jazz Ambassadors – as part of the 2006 Jazz at Lincoln Center American Music Abroad “Rhythm Road Program.” Appearances in award-winning albums include those with

Alvin Batiste and Branford Marsalis “Tribute Honor Series to Alvin Batiste” • Joe Locke “Force of Four” •  Magos Herrera “Distancia” • Papo Vázquez “From The Badlands” • Henry Cole & The Afro Beat Collective “Roots Before Branches” • Maria Casales “Woman on Fire” and Rodríguez Brothers “Band Conversations”.

Ricky is currently touring with Michel Camilo and Trío Latino, David Sánchez Group, Joe Locke Quartet, Ignacio Berroa Quartet, and his own group. His new solo album, Ricky Rodríguez Group “Looking Beyond” was released June 15th, 2016 under the Destiny Record Label.

Arturo Stable

Considered by the jazz media at the forefront of his musical generation, Cuban born percussionist and composer Arturo Stable has share the stage/studio with such artists as Paquito D Rivera, Esperanza Spalding, The Caribbean Jazz Project, Miguel Zenon and Christian McBride.  

Mr. Stable also has extensive experience as a clinician and educator. He is the Chair of the Hand Drum Department at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. and has developed a strong international presence as a bandleader with five releases under his name, as well as countless international appearances at Madrid Jazz Festival, Vittoria Jazz Festival, JVC Jazz Festival and Moscow Jazz Fest.

Theresa Norris

Flutist Theresa Norris is an active orchestral and chamber musician in New York and the surrounding area. She began her musical career in her hometown of Detroit, where she performed with the Detroit Symphony and Michigan Opera Theatre while studying flute performance at Wayne State University. Currently Ms. Norris teaches flute at Kent Place School in Summit, NJ, and often races to Broadway for an evening of Phantom of the Opera. She has performed with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Stamford Symphony, Westfield Symphony, Center for Contemporary Opera and Long Island Philharmonic. She has been performing with the Bronx Arts Ensemble for over twenty years.

Oboist William Meredith made his debut at age 13 as soloist with the Kansas City Philharmonic, and he subsequently moved to New York to study with Harold Gomberg at the Manhattan School of Music.  His professional experience includes the Westchester Symphony, Virginia Opera Company, New Jersey Symphony, Long Island Symphony and North South Chamber Orchestra new music group. He has played principal with the American Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Brooklyn Philharmonic and EOS Orchestra, as well as the Connecticut Grand Opera and Grand Opera of New York. In demand as a chamber musician, William is a member of the Andiamo Ensemble, Linden Woodwind Quintet and Bronx Arts Ensemble. As a busy recording musician, he recently recorded for Queen Latifa’s new album, and soundtrack for the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Blackwater Lighthouse. His Broadway credits include My Fair Lady, Ragtimeand Beauty and the Beast.

Mitchell Kriegler

Mitchell Kriegler was born in the Bronx and graduated from the Manhattan School of Music. He studied clarinet with Charles Russo, Conrad Kuchay, and Robert Renino. Mr. Kriegler performs at Lincoln Center with the New York City Ballet, and at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops. He is an artist member of The Bronx Arts Ensemble, the Linden Quintet and the New York City Opera Orchestra.

Rheagan Osteen

Rheagan Osteen, formerly principal horn of the Amazonas Philharmonic in Brazil, has played with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Westchester Philharmonic, The New York Pops, Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, Stamford Symphony Orchestra, American Composer’s Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the Long Island Philharmonic, and in musicals on Broadway including Follies, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Phantom of the Opera, Ragtime, The King and I at Lincoln Center, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.  She recently completed the latest revival of Bernstein’s On the Town at the Lyric Theater and also played the premiere run of Maury Yeston’s Death Takes a Holiday.  Rheagan played Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2, Haydn’s Horn Concerto No. 1, and the Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 as a soloist with The Chelsea Symphony.  An avid chamber musician, Rheagan is a founding member of The Aeolian Collective and has given performances and masterclasses across the country with Intrada Winds.  Rheagan can be heard on the latest cast recording of On the Town, the original cast album of Death Takes a Holiday, and Celebrating the American Spirit with Kelli O’Hara and Ron Raines.

Atsuko Sato

Atsuko Sato, bassoonist of the Tony winning musical ” the Phantom of the Opera”, graduated from the Juilliard School where she was a student of Harold Goltzer. She was a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and since returning to the New York, she freelances with many ensembles. She is a member of the Queens symphony, englewinds ensemble. She is very excited to perform with Bronx arts ensemble this season.