School of Music Visiting Artist
Did you know that Latin America is the land of the harp? Did you know that the official national dances” of Venezuela, Paraguay, and Chile are harp music? Did you know that ‘La Bamba’ is harp music from 18th century Veracruz, Mexico? The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, in collaboration with CalArts LatinFest, is proud to present renowned harpist Alfredo Rolando Ortiz for the free LatinFest Harp Day. Ortiz will be presenting a harp composition workshop, masterclass, injury prevention workshop, and performance. All events are open to the public and harpists of any skill level, and there is no need to bring an instrument.
Alfredo was born in Cuba. When he was eleven years old he immigrated with his family to Venezuela. Four years later he began studying the Venezuelan folk harp with his school friend Fernando Guerrero. A year later he became a pupil of Alberto Romero on the Paraguayan harp. Just two years after his first harp lesson, he began medical school at Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín, Colombia, began performing professionally, and recorded his first album. Music supported his medical studies until graduation. Five years later he moved to the United States to continue studies of music therapy. Two years later, he married Luz Marina Otero. For eight years from the time of his graduation from medical school, he worked in the medical field as well as a harpist and recording artist, until his wife became pregnant. In order to have time for his growing family, he then decided to dedicate his life only to them and to his first love: the harp.
With a multicultural repertoire that covers folk, classical and popular music from many countries, as well as his original compositions, Alfredo has performed for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. He has recorded many albums and is the winner of a gold record in South America. He has lectured on a variety of subjects at universities, colleges, and schools, is the author of several harp music books and articles, and his compositions have been performed and recorded by classical and folk harpists in many countries. His ‘Venezolana for Five Pedal Harps’ has become a favorite of harp ensembles around the world.
His acclaimed ‘South American Suite for Harp and Orchestra’ premiered March 3, 1996. Dr Ortiz was invited to perform his Suite at the World Harp Congress in Prague, Czech Republic, in 1999, with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, having as audience over one thousand classical harpists from around the world. He has also performed his Suite in Venezuela, Guatemala, Brazil, Turkey, New Zealand, and Israel, and with several orchestras in the United States, among them the New Mexico Symphony, Corona Symphony Orchestra, and the El Paso Symphony.
On July 22, 2008, during the Tenth World Harp Congress in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, his composition Cumbia Verde, created for four harps or harp ensemble, was premiered by 232 harpists, the largest harp ensemble to date.