Aruan Ortiz - Artist Page
Aruan Ortiz
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A former classically trained violist and pianist, Aruan Ortiz was born in Santiago de Cuba in 1973, and began his studies at the age of 8 at the Escuela Vocacional de Arte in his home town. Continuing at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba, he was marked by the influence of Bach, Mozart, Paganini and Liszt, among others.

After receiving various awards as a violist - Amadeo Roldan award for Best Mozart Interpretation, 1991, Best Interpretation of Cuban Music, 1991 - and playing as a soloist with the Santiago Symphony Orchestra in 1992, he gave up the viola at the age of 20 in favor of the piano, an instrument he had always preferred, and with which he most identified in his search for new sounds.

Following his heart, Aru?n went on to study classical piano at the Conservatorio Profesional de Musica in Santiago de Cuba. In 1995, he won Best Cuban Composition at the Symposium of Cuban Music, Jamaica, and soon thereafter he was discovered by the Spanish record label Magic Music/Universal Latino, which brought him to Spain where he participated in La Isla de la M?sica (1996). This project assembled music from all over Cuba, was acclaimed by the international press, and was recognized as one of the first albums to bring Cuban music to the European and American mainstream.

In the same year, Aru?n continued developing his sound and recorded his first album as a soloist, Impresion Tropical (Universal Latino, 1996), a compilation of traditional Cuban music and original compositions played piano solo. During this period he was also awarded a series of scholarships to study classical piano with celebrated Cuban pianist and educator Cecilio Tieles at the Professional Conservatory in Vilaseca, Spain, jazz piano with Joanne Brackeen and Danilo Perez at the Berklee College of Music, and more recently with Charlie Banacos.

Influenced by jazz greats such as Bud Powell, Art Tatum, and Thelonious Monk, and mentored by Horacio Fumero (former bass player in the Tete Montoliu Trio), Aruan's jazz career took off as a sideman in Barcelona and Paris, playing with Antoine Roney, Sarah Morrow, Tata Guines, Miguel 'Anga' Diaz, and in the U.S. with Wallace Roney, Roy Hargrove, Stefon Harris, George Garzone, Sheila E., Horacio 'El Negro' Hernandez, Giovanni Hidalgo, Lionel Loueke, Eric McPherson, Jane Bunnett, and John Lockwood among others.

While in Europe he was the recipient of various awards including Best Jazz Interpretation, Festival de Jazz in Vic, Spain (2000) and Semifinalist, Jas Hennessy Piano Solo Competition, Montreux, Switzerland (2001). Later, in the U.S., Aruan participated in the recording of the definitive Miles Davis tribute record on Columbia Records with Davis' nephew Vince Wilburn, Wallace Roney, Antoine Roney, Missy Elliot, and others in 2004.

He has also collaborated on the following recordings: Esperanza Spalding, Junjo (Ayva Musica, 2005); Arturo Stable, Cuban Crosshatching (Origen Records, 2005); Chie Imaizumi Big Band, Adversity (2005). Aside from his trio, Aruan also works as an assistant professor at Berklee College of Music, and gives workshops and clinics at different universities around the U.S.

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Aruan Ortiz Trio (Universal Latino, 2005)

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