PROFILE

“A charismatic spark plug of a pianist from Cuba” The New York Times

“He´s Cuba´s most exciting pianist” The Guardian

“One of the world´s great pianists and one of the finest of Cuba´s new generation of musicians” Evening Standard

Renowned Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca has announced a string of concerts in 2019. Directed by Argentinian conductor Pablo Boggiano, Roberto and his trio of musicians will join the Tonkünstler Orchestra and Jena Philharmonic Orchestra for a series of performances in Austria and Germany. Fonseca, who has previously collaborated with string ensembles in France, Colombia and the US, will perform orchestral interpretations of various Latin American songs and his own compositions.

Fri 10th May    Vienna            Musikverein (Tonkünstler Orchestra conducted by Pablo Boggiano)

Sat 11th May   St. Pölten       Festspielhaus (Tonkünstler Orchestra conducted by Pablo Boggiano)

Thu 18th July  Jena                Kulturarena (Jena Philharmonic conducted by Pablo Boggiano)

“It is an honour to be able to work with Pablo Boggiano on this project,” says Roberto. ”I have great respect for classical music and I admire his career. Ever since his debut at a young age, he has continued to develop, driven by a constant desire to share great moments filled with the passion that unites us, a passion for music.

“I arrived in Vienna driven by a passionate love for the greats of classical music who once lived here, and it was in this city that I ended up discovering new parts of myself,” explains Pablo. ”I found my roots and origins here, a process which led me to investigate many of the musical treasures of my continent. And that is why when they offered me the opportunity to act in union with Roberto as an ambassador of the cultural power that is Cuba, my joy was immediate. How could I refuse?

Since the beginning of his musical career in the early 1990s, Cuban-born multi-instrumentalist Roberto Fonseca has stated his mission clearly: “I want my music to reach people who don’t know me, and I dream of one day becoming a point of reference for my audience.” Although still very young – by the standards of jazz, hip-hop, world music or any other genre – Fonseca has maintained a sharp focus on his mission that has already secured him global recognition.

Born into a musical family in Havana in 1975, Roberto originally gravitated towards percussion, but started playing the piano at the age of 8 (the interest in percussion would eventually enhance his piano style) and began composing in his early teens, drawing inspiration from Afro-Cuban music. His appearance at Havana’s International Jazz Festival at the tender age of 15 was not only a revelation to audiences, but the launching pad for a musical education that resulted in a degree in composition from the Instituto Superior de Arte. But the degree was only the beginning of his education.

Ten years and several solo albums later, the rousing young jazz pianist joined the internationally acclaimed orchestra of charismatic sonero Ibrahim Ferrer, touring the world and recording and producing his last release ‘Mi sueño. A bolero Songbook’. The album received a Latin Grammy nomination in the category of Best Tropical Latin Album. Fonseca also played with Buena Vista Social Club™, joining great the cast of stars such as Ibrahim Ferrer, Orlando ‘Cachaíto’ López, Rubén González, Guajiro Mirabal y Manuel Galbán and he also recorded and toured with another of its frontline stars, Omara Portuondo.

He produced the GRAMMY-awarded album ‘Gracias’ by Cuban diva Omara Portuondo, a special project with stellar collaborations from Jorge Drexler, Chico Buarque, Avishai Cohen and Trilok Gurtuk. An ingenious composer and producer who draws on a wide range of musical traditions and genres, over the years he has released his own projects such as ‘Zamazu’, ‘Akokan’ and ‘Jazz in Marciac’.

Fonseca brought together Cuban and African musicians for his highly praised 2012 recording and GRAMMY-nominated ‘YO’ (in the category of ‘Best Latin Jazz Album’), a mix of acoustic and electric sounds The Times described “by turns folkloric and turbo-charged.” In 2014 Fonseca released the album ‘At Home’ along with Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara, producing this transatlantic meeting of sounds and cultures. Fonseca released the album ‘ABUC last year to widespread critical acclaim with The Guardian describing it as “an astonishingly broad, tightly fused and incandescently delivered vision” in their 5 star review. “The keyboardist,” wrote Down Beat magazine, “is a terrific example of what makes 21st century improvised music so exciting: Fonseca is part of a generation of musicians who feel that all sounds from all countries are accessible to them, either in acoustic, electric or digitised form.”

About the Tonkünstler Orchestra:

With its residencies at the Musikverein in Vienna and Festspielhaus venues in St. Pölten and Grafenegg, the Tonkünstler Orchestra is one of Austria’s biggest and most important musical ambassadors. The focus of the orchestra’s artistic work is the traditional orchestral repertoire, ranging from the Classical to the Romantic periods, but also contemporary compositions. Yutaka Sado, one of the most important Japanese conductors of our time, has been the orchestra’s Music Director since 2015.

About Pablo Bogging:

Born in Buenos Aires, Pablo Boggiano has lived in Austria since 2003. He studied under Mario Benzecry in the Carlos López Buchardo National Conservatory in Argentina before completing his studies in Paris, Vienna and Helsinki. Boggiano made his directorial debut at the age of 18, conducting the Libertador San Martin Youth Symphony in Buenos Aires. Pablo has worked with various orchestras across the world, from Sarajevo to Taiwan.