BY JON CRONIN
On Sunday night, Queen College alumnus Arturo O’Farrill won his fourth Grammy Award for Best Composition for his Latin Jazz album “Three Revolutions”—which he made with his partner, Chucho Valdés.
According to the Grammy Awards’ website, O’Farrill and Valdés are two of the leading Afro-Cuban jazz artists, just as their fathers, Chico O’Farrill and Bebo Valdés, were before them.
No stranger to the Grammys, O’Farrill paid tribute to his predecessors in his acceptance speech. O’Farrill acknowledged his father for creating this type of music decades before he came on the scene as well as the people of Cuba.
“Your beauty is creating happiness in any circumstance,” he said of the people of the island nation.
“On behalf of the Queens College community, I’d like to congratulate alumnus Arturo O’Farrill on his Grammy Award win last night,” said Queens College President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.
Rodríguez noted that O’Farrill was a 2005 graduate of Queens College’s renowned Aaron Copland School of Music, where he earned an MA in Jazz Performance.
“He benefited from the influence of distinguished former music school faculty member Sir Roland Hanna, who bridged European classical music with American jazz, as well as having studied composition with Grammy-nominated professor Michael Mossman,” Rodríguez said.
He added that “Queens College alumni and faculty…have been nominated for more than 100 Grammy awards (winning more than 30!) over the past 50 years.”
“We encourage all students to pursue their passions and take full advantage of the resources available to them at Queens College so their dreams, too, can become a reality,” Rodríguez concluded.
O’Farrill and Valdés’ new album pays tribute to their fathers and respective children—trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, drummer Zack O’Farrill, pianist Leyanis Valdés and drummer Jessie Valdés—proving that the album is a multigenerational work. The album also features music written by their fathers.
The duo have worked together for over 20 years, but this is their first shared Grammy.
Reach reporter Jon Cronin via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 125.