Arturo O’Farrill

A Lunchtime Chat with Arturo O’Farrill
Friday, November 6, 2020 at 12pm EST

About the Event

It’s not every day that you get to sit down for lunch with a Grammy and Latin Grammy-Award winner dedicated to transcending borders through music. Take a break from your day and join us for a digital lunchtime conversation and jam with Afro-Jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill as he talks about his creative process and his multifaceted life as a performer, educator and activist.

About Arturo O’Farrill

“Celebrated jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill has dedicated his life to envisioning a future of inclusion and collaboration.”


Arturo O’Farrill is a pianist, composer and educator who was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. He received his formal musical education at the Manhattan School of Music and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. Arturo’s professional career began with the Carla Bley Band and continued as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis and Harry Belafonte. In 2007, he founded the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the performance, education, and preservation of Afro Latin music. Learn more about ALJA here:

In December 2010, Arturo traveled with the original Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra to Cuba, returning his father’s musicians to his homeland. He continues to travel to Cuba regularly as an informal Cultural Ambassador, working with Cuban musicians, dancers, and students, bringing local musicians from Cuba to the US and American musicians to Cuba.

During 2016-2019, Arturo has performed with orchestras and bands including his own Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and Arturo O’Farrill Sextet, as well as other Orchestras and smaller ensembles in the US, Europe, Russia, Australia, and South America.

His current album Fandango At The Wall: A Soundtrack for the United States, Mexico and Beyond (Resilience Music) is a passionate 3-part project meant to bring the people of the United States and Mexico together through music. After all, we don’t just share a border but families and friends, histories and futures. Our countries are interconnected, and our fates are interlinked. Indeed, we should root for and help each other. An HBO documentary about this important project, Fandango at the Wall, is out now on HBO. And you can hear Arturo speak candidly about the work in this interview on NPR.

An avid supporter of all the Arts, Arturo has performed with Ballet Hispanico and the Malpaso Dance Company, for whom he has written three ballets. In addition, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company is touring a ballet entitled “Open Door,” choreographed by Ron Brown to several of Arturo’s compositions and recordings. Ron Brown’s own Evidence Dance Company commissioned Arturo to compose New Conversations, which premiered in the Summer of 2018 at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, MA.

Arturo has received commissions from Meet the Composer, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Philadelphia Music Project, The Apollo Theater, Symphony Space, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Young Peoples Chorus of New York, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Arturo’s well-reviewed and highly praised “Afro-Latin Jazz Suite” from the album CUBA: The Conversation Continues (Motéma) took the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition and the 2016 Latin Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. His powerful “Three Revolutions” from the album Familia-Tribute to Chico and Bebo was the 2018 Grammy Award (his sixth) winner for Best Instrumental Composition.

Arturo O’Farrill is on the faculty of The Manhattan School of Music, The New School, and is Professor of Global Jazz at the University of California, Los Angeles. O’Farrill is a Steinway Artist.