Cuban-born vocalist and percussionist Carlos Oliva arrived in Miami in 1961, where he formed Los Sobrinos del Juez, (The Judge’s Nephews), specializing in a new, inter-cultural sound. This fusion of Cuban music, salsa, afro beats, samba, jazz and rock became known as “The Miami Sound.” Oliva has produced and directed many other musical groups, including Miami Sound Machine.
A prolific commercial composer, Oliva earned an Emmy Award for music for a promotional Univision Campaign. He has written many television theme songs, including Cristina, and Ocurrio asi, both winners of BMI Latin TV Theme Awards, and La Feria de la Alegria. Additionally, Oliva has written for other international artists, and written over one hundred radio and television commercials.
Los Sobrinos del Juez’s numerous hits have led to successful tours in Latin America, Europe and especially in Brazil, where their album “Caribbean Dance” won a Gold Record Award for sales over 250,000 copies. They continue to release new recordings, including Crossing Over in 2004, I’m a Believer in 2007 on the Talent Beach Music label, and …Y seguimos guarachando in 2011, including a DVD with a collection of video clips produced throughout the years.
Stephen Guerra, Jr. is a lecturer in the department of Studio Music and Jazz at the University of Miami in jazz composition, is the Director of Community Outreach for the Frost School of Music, and serves as the Coordinator for the Henry Mancini Institute. Stephen is also the conductor of the Downbeat Award winning Studio Jazz Band. Stephen earned B.A. degree from the University of New Hampshire in Saxophone Performance, an M.M. degree from the Eastman School of Music, and is currently ABD for a D.M.A in Jazz Composition from the University of Miami. Stephen is in high demand as a composer and arranger and has been commissioned to write music for Dave Koz, Jorge Villamizar, Carmen Bradford, the Lakes Region Symphony Orchestra, the Greater Manchester Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, and the Air Force Band of the West, among others. He has served as a composer‐in‐residence throughout the United States through the generosity of the Commission Project and the National Endowment for the Arts. Stephen has performed alongside many jazz greats including Phil Woods, Al Grey, Snooky Young, Marshall Royal, John Faddis, and Jeff “Tain” Watts. He can be heard as a featured soloist on the Clark Terry Young Titan’s of Jazz 2003 release Live at Marihan’s and the 2007 release by the Louie Bellson Big Band titled Louie and Clark Expedition 2. In 2009 the Stephen Guerra Big Band released their critically-acclaimed first album entitled Namesake on the Bada Beep Music recording label.
Karen Kennedy is associate professor and director of choral studies at the University of Miami Frost School of Music where she conducts the Frost Chorale and other choral ensembles. She is also artistic director of the Master Chorale of South Florida. She previously held the positions of chorus director for the Honolulu Symphony, director of choral activities at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, and director of choral activities at Towson University. She earned a D.M.A. degree in choral music from Arizona State University, a M.M. in choral conducting from Butler University and a B.M. in Music Education from DePauw University. Dr. Kennedy regularly conducts choral festivals featuring major works such as Orff’s Carmina Burana, Durufle’s Requiem, Faure’s Requiem, Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor and Rutter’s Gloria and presented concerts in such venues as the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah and the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, Sweden. She has received numerous awards for teaching, including the University of Hawai`i Chancellor’s Citation for Meritorious Teaching, Arizona State University’s Manzanita “Top Prof” Award and Butler University’s Faculty Distinction Award. She is well known as a choral clinician and adjudicator, regularly working with Gateway Music Festivals, Music in the Parks, and Heritage Music Tours, as well as all-state and festival honor choirs. Her workshops have been a part of recent ACDA and MENC regional and state conventions and she has served as the ACDA Eastern Division Collegiate Repertoire and Standards Chair and as a founding member of the National Collegiate Choral Organization.
Three-time Grammy winner Jon Secada is an international superstar. With sales of more than 20 million albums worldwide, Secada is also a veteran of Broadway, television, and an accomplished producer.
His debut album Jon Secada went triple platinum, and the Spanish-language version was the Number One Latin album of 1992, earning a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album. Secada’s second album, Heart Soul and Voice, went platinum, and his third album, Amor, earned a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Performance. In 2006, Secada shared a Grammy for Songs From The Neighborhood: The Music of Mister Rogers. Secada has released numerous top thirty hits and albums since, and in 2010, released his first concert DVD, “Stage Rio” from his 2009 Brazil tour. Secada has co-written and co-produced songs for Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, and Mandy Moore for their multi-platinum albums.
Secada has starred on Broadway as Danny Zuko in Grease, as the Emcee in Sam Mendes’ Cabaret, and as Joseph in Lloyd Webber’s & Rice’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He was a longtime celebrity judge on Latin American Idol.
Larry Lapin is professor and program director of Jazz Vocal Performance at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. A pianist, composer, arranger and educator, Larry Lapin’s career is vast, including performances with jazz greats such as Gerry Mulligan, Bobby Shew, Johnny Smith, George Duvivier and Sarah Vaughn. In addition, he has appeared with such show business personalities as Rich Little, Phyllis Diller, Cab Calloway and Tony Bennett. Larry’s arrangements and orchestrations are constantly performed by professional and school groups all over the country, most recently by Peter Nero and the Philly Pops Orchestra. As professor of jazz studies in the Frost School’s Department of Studio Music and Jazz, his students and student performing groups have garnered 26 awards in 22 years from Downbeat Magazine in DB’s annual student music award competition. A popular conductor and clinician, Larry Lapin is in-demand at all-state festivals and music conferences.
Singer Roseanna Vitro has toured the world as a performer, clinician, recording artist, vocal instructor and official Jazz Ambassador, sponsored in 2009 by Jazz at Lincoln Center and the U.S. State Department, and in 2004 by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the U.S. State Department.
In 2011, Vitro earned a Vocal Jazz Grammy Nomination for The Music of Randy Newman on Motéma Music, featuring pianist Mark Soskin, violinist Sara Caswell, bassist Dean Johnson, and drummer Tim Horner.
Vitro’s signature style can be heard on numerous other recordings, including Passion Dance on Telarc, with Elvin Jones, Christian McBride and longtime musical partner, Kenny Werner; and The Delirium Blues Project: Serve or Suffer on Half Note Records, with Kenny Werner, James Carter, Randy Brecker, Ray Anderson, Adam Rogers, John Patitucci, Rocky Bryant, and Geoff Countryman.
2010 Macarthur Foundation Recipient Jason Moran has established himself as a risk-taking pianist and innovator of new directions for jazz. His awards include Jazz Artist, Jazz Album & Pianist of the Year in the 59th Annual Downbeat Critics Poll; Rising Star Jazz Artist, Rising Star Pianist, Rising Star Composer in the 2003-04 Downbeat Critics Polls; and the first Playboy Jazz Artist of the Year award.
Moran’s Soundtrack to Human Motion on Blue Note earned “Best Debut Recording” by the Jazz Journalists Association. Facing Left established The Bandwagon with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, and Moran added avant-garde icon Sam Rivers for Black Stars. Moran followed with the acclaimed recordings Modernistic, The Bandwagon: Live at the Village Vanguard, Same Mother, Artist in Residence, and TEN.
Inspired by contemporary art, Moran’s music is in the collections of the MOMA and Whitney Museum of American Art. Commissions include The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Dia Art Foundation, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and IN MY MIND: Monk at Town Hall, 1959, a multi-media performance and documentary on Monk at Town Hall. He has written for LINES Ballet, scored video works for contemporary artists Glenn Ligon and Kara Walker, and collaborated with neo-soul artist Meshell Ndegeocello.
Moran is on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and has been lecturer/instructor at Yale University, Dartmouth University, University of Pennsylvania, Eastman School of Music, The Kennedy Center, The New School, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and numerous others.
Dennis Kam is professor and chair of the Department of Music Theory and Composition at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, where he conducts the Other Music Ensemble (for the performance of new music). He is also composer-in-residence for the South Florida Youth Symphony. Recent recordings of Professor Kam’s music include Miami Mix II performed by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony (TNC label), as well as two works performed by the Ibis Camerata, Trio and Sonata Ibis (Albany). Professor Kam is national board member for Composition for the Southern Chapter of the College Music Society, where he was formerly president. He has also served as a member of both Executive and National Councils for the Society of Composers, Inc. Kam’s works since the 1980s have represented a number and variety of interests including new tonal or post-atonal possibilities, contextual novelty, varieties of focus and perceptibility, time and continuity, meaning, implication and representation in music. During 1982–1987, Kam was music director/conductor of the Greater Miami Youth Symphony and has received many commissions, grants, and awards, including BMI and the Ford Foundation, enabling him to serve as Professional (Composer)-in-Residence for Honolulu and the State of Hawaii under the auspices of the Ford Foundation/ MENC Contemporary Music Project during 1970–1972.
Valerie Perri is best known for her Award-winning performance in the role of Eva Peron in the National Touring production of the Tony Award-winning musical Evita, directed by the legendary Harold Prince. Her other Broadway shows include starring roles in: West Side Story; Gypsy; Jesus Christ Superstar; I Do, I Do; The World Goes Round; Man Of La Mancha; Annie Warbucks; City Of Angels; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.
Perri is a recipient of a Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for her performance in Harry Chapin: Lies and Legends and a nominee for the Sarah Siddons Award for her role as Evita Peron.