Michel Camilo Biography (BBC)
Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Michel Camilo composed his first song at the age of 5, studied at the National Conservatory, and became a member of the National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic at 16. He moved to New York in 1979 to broaden his musical experience with study at Mannes and the Juilliard School.
Camilo's big break came in the early 1980s when his composition Why Not? was recorded by Paquito D'Rivera. The same work won a Grammy award in 1983 when the Manhattan Transfer recorded a vocal version of it. Since then he has recorded numerous albums as a soloist and with bands of various sizes.
His brilliant piano technique is combined in his compositions with Carribean rhythms and jazz harmonies, but his activities are not limited to jazz. In 1987 he conducted the National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic in a programme of Beethoven, Dvorak and Rimsky-Korsakov, and he has given recitals including music by Chopin and Debussy, which he mastered in his youth and to which he credits his keyboard technique and dynamic sense of structure. His most recent work to fuse jazz and classical idioms is the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1998), commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington DC, and premiered under Leonard Slatkin at the Kennedy Center in 1998.
The effervescence of his music and his personality has ensured Michel Camilo's enduring success in the jazz world, while his increasingly frequent appearances in the classical repertoire (recently he has performed both Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and Piano Concerto in F alongside his own Piano Concerto across North America and Europe) are bringing his infectious sound-world to a much wider audience.
Profile by Rebecca Davidson © BBC
Michel Camilo Biography (Wikipedia)
Michel Camilo (born April 4, 1954) is a Grammy-award winning pianist and composer from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He specializes in jazz, Latin and classical piano work. Camilo lists some of his main influences as Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, and Art Tatum.
Michel Camilo Tracks