Arturo O'Farrill Appointed Chair of New York Youth Symphony First Music Jazz Advisory Board

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NEW YORK - Dec. 17, 2018 - PRLog -- Pianist, composer, educator, and founder and Artistic Director of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance Arturo O'Farrill has been appointed chair of the advisory committee that commissions jazz compositions through the New York Youth Symphony's First Music commissioning program. O'Farrill replaces Rufus Reid, a leading string bass player, and joins Grammy-nominated Christopher Theofanidis, who chairs the advisory board for orchestra and chamber music commissions. First Music, the New York Youth Symphony's young composer competition, commissions America's best emerging orchestra, chamber music, and jazz composers under the age of 30. It has been acknowledged widely as one of the leading forces in the United States for bringing the work of gifted young composers to the public's attention. Seven awards between $500 and $3,000 are given each season for orchestral, jazz, and chamber music compositions, with premieres at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Interlochen Center for the Arts.

On accepting the appointment O'Farrill said "The NYYS First Music program provides an exceptional opportunity for young composers to have their works premiered at New York's finest performance venues, and performed by New York's most talented and driven young musicians. I am very happy to serve young musicians and the NYYS."

Andy Clausen, director of NYYS Jazz says "As director of NYYS Jazz and a composer myself I've seen first-hand how the exceptionally talented musicians of NYYS jazz are enriched, inspired, and excited by the new works developed through our First Music commission program. I am thrilled for Arturo O'Farrill to be coming on as jazz chair, to help commission the 2019/20 season of young jazz composers. His dedication and contribution to the jazz community are hugely commendable, and we are honored to have him join us in this capacity."

"Mr. O'Farrill's contribution to the education of young jazz composers and musicians complements our own dedication to these efforts. We are excited to have him chair our advisory committee for First Music jazz submissions," says Shauna Quill, NYYS Executive Director.

The NYYS is proud to have commissioned over 160 original works for orchestra, chamber music, and jazz through First Music since 1984, all of which have been premiered by NYYS ensembles at venues including Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center. First Music commissions have been awarded to Aaron J. Kernis, David Lang, Kevin Puts, Julia Wolfe, Michael Torke, and Timo Andres, among others. We are proud that First Music composers have been recognized with 12 Rome Prizes, 16 Guggenheim Fellowships, two Grawemeyer Awards, and four Pulitzer Prizes.

First Music submissions are now being accepted for the 2019/20 season. Seven commissions ranging from $500 and $3,000 will be awarded for orchestral, jazz, and chamber music compositions. The premieres will take place at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Interlochen Center for the Arts during the 2019/20 season and will be performed by students from the NYYS and Interlochen Center for the Arts. Orchestra and chamber music submissions must be received by December 31, 2018. Jazz submissions must be received by January 15, 2019. Applications can be submitted at

, pianist, composer, educator, and founder and Artistic Director of the non-profit Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. His debut album with the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Una Noche Inolvidable, earned a first GRAMMY Award nomination in 2006. O'Farrill next album Song for Chico, earned a GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2009. The 2015 release of The Offense of the Drum was yet another Grammy Award winner. O'Farrill was, in addition, the winner of the Latin Jazz USA Outstanding Achievement Award, and a Cubadisco Award for The Offense of the Drum in 2015. His acclaimed album Cuba: The Conversation Continues (on the Motéma label) took the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. O'Farrill's "Three Revolutions" from the album Familia - Tribute to Chico and Bebo was the 2018 Grammy Award winner for Best Instrumental Composition.

Arturo O'Farrill received his formal musical education at the Manhattan School of Music, Brooklyn College Conservatory, and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. As his professional career began to expand, he was the pianist with the Carla Bley Big Band from 1979 through 1983. O'Farrill then went on to develop as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Steve Turre, Freddy Cole, The Fort Apache Band, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte.

In 1995 O'Farrill agreed to direct the band that preserved much of his father's music, the Chico O'Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra. In December 2010 he traveled with the original Chico O'Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra to Cuba, returning his father's musicians to his homeland for headlining performances at the 26th edition of the Havana International Jazz Festival. Currently, O'Farrill's Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra continues the tradition every Sunday night at Birdland, which has for decades been one of the most popular jazz clubs in the US. He now performs throughout the world as a Solo Artist and also with his Orchestra, as well as smaller ensembles.

The NEW YORK YOUTH SYMPHONY is the most awarded youth programs of its kind in the nation, recognized for its innovative, tuition-free educational programs for talented young musicians.  Founded in 1963 as an orchestra to showcase the metropolitan area's most gifted musicians between the ages of 12 to 22, its activities have since grown to encompass programs in jazz, chamber music, conducting, composition, and musical theater composition, with performances at world class venues including Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Through its commissioning program, First Music, the NYYS has commissioned over 160 works from young composers since 1984.

New York Youth Symphony
John Stolen, Marketing/PR
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