Elio Villafranca

Man in foreground facing camera. In the background is a blurred outdoor scene.
Born in the province of Pinar del Río, Cuba, Steinway Artist and cultural activist, author, pianist, and composer Elio Villafranca is a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient; a two-time Grammy nominee; 2019 Downbeat Critic’s Poll Rising Stars Pianist; winner of the 2018 Downbeat Critic’s Poll Rising Stars Keyboard; and Africa; and a recipient of the first Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) Millennium Swing Award in 2014. Since his arrival to the U.S., he’s been at the forefront of today’s pianists and composers, fusing classical and jazz with music from the African diaspora. His debut album 'Incantations/Encantaciones (Universal Latin),' was named 50 Best Jazz Albums of the Year by JazzTimes Magazine. Since then, Villafranca has released over ten acclaimed albums as a leader and performed with jazz and Latin jazz luminaries such as Wynton Marsalis, Lewis Nash, Eric Alexander, Pat Martino, Vincent Herring, Steve Turre, Freddie Hendrix, and Johnny Pacheco, among others. Elio has also performed with jazz masters such as Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Joe Lovano, Jon Faddis, Christian Mc Bride, and Chick Corea. Elio is based in New York City, and he is a jazz faculty member at Temple University, Princeton University, The Juilliard School of Music, and Manhattan School of Music.

Related Articles