Born in the Pinar del Río province of Cuba, Steinway Artist, Grammy Nominated, and 2014 Jalc Millennium Swing Award! Recipient pianist and composer ELIO VILLAFRANCA was classically trained in percussion and composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba.
Since he arrived in the U.S. in mid-1995, Elio Villafranca has been at the forefront of the latest generation of remarkable pianists, composers, and bandleaders. NYC Jazz Record selected his concert Letters to Mother Africa as one of the Best Concerts in 2016. In 2015, Mr. Villafranca was among the five pianists hand-picked by Chick Corea to perform at the first Chick Corea Jazz Festival, curated by Chick at JALC.
Elio Villafranca’s album Caribbean Tinge (Motema), received a 2014 Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik Nomination by the German Records Critics Award and has been selected by JazzTimes and DownBeat magazines for a feature on their very competitive section Editor’s Pick. He also received a 2010 Grammy Nomination in the Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year category. In 2008 The Jazz Corner nominated Elio Villafranca as the pianist of the year. That year, Mr. Villafranca was also honored by BMI with the BMI Jazz Guaranty Award. Also, he received the first NFA/Heineken Green Ribbon Master Artist Music Grant to create his Concerto for Mariachi for Afro-Cuban Percussion and Symphony Orchestra. Finally, his first album, Incantations/ Encantaciones, featuring Pat Martino, Terell Stafford, and Dafnis Prieto, was ranked amongst the 50 best jazz albums of the year by JazzTimes magazine in 2003.
Over the years, Elio Villafranca has recorded and performed nationally and internationally as a leader, featuring jazz master artists such as Pat Martino, Terell Stafford, Billy Hart, Paquito D’Rivera, Eric Alexander, Lewis Nash, David Murray, and Wynton Marsalis, among other. As a sideman, Elio Villafranca has collaborated with leading jazz and Latin jazz artists, including Chick Corea, Jon Faddis, Billy Harper, Sonny Fortune, Giovanni Hidalgo, Miguel Zenón, and Johnny Pacheco, among others.
In 2017, Elio Villafranca received The Sunshine Award, founded in 1989, to recognize excellence in the performing arts, education, science, and sports of the various Caribbean countries, South America, Centro America, and Africa. He is based in New York City and is a faculty member of Temple University, Philadelphia, The Juilliard School of Music, New York University, and the Manhattan School of Music in NYC.
In 2022, Villafranca released the acclaimed Standing at the Crossroads.
ELIO VILLAFRANCA WILL APPEAR AT KLAVIERHAUS AS PART OF EL MUNDO DEL PIANO LATINOAMERICANO PIANO FESTIVAL. FOR INFORMATION AND TICKETS CLICK HERE.