Phenomenal live music from an ensemble of critically-acclamied artists, set in one of Brooklyn’s finest venues, and all for the benefit of PS 9: “BK Collective: A Night of Jazz & Global Beats,” to be held this Saturday, March 4th at Littlefield, in Gowanus, is an evening not to be missed.  We hope to see you there!

To purchase advance tickets, please visit: http://www.ps9brooklyn.org/news/2016/12/benefit-concert/

* Tickets will also be available at the door on the night of the show.

In the meantime, please enjoy this excellent final installment in our “Meet the Musicians” series…

Meet pianist Aruan Ortiz, parent, along with his wife Laura Sitkin, of second-grader Damian (Ms. Suwalsky)!

We asked Aruan a few questions:

 

  1. What are your Top 5 desert island discs/downloads?
  2. It’s hard to choose only five albums, but for sure “Prisoner” by Herbie Hancock; “Dusk” by Andrew Hill; “Saint Matthew’s Passion” by John Elliott Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir; “Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta” by Bela Bartok with Pierre Boulez as conductor; “Monk Plays Ellington” by Thelonious Monk; and “Dias y Flores” by Silvio Rodriguez.  

 

  1. What’s the last thing your kids said that made you fall out of your chair laughing?
  2. I find my son’s creativity extremely funny when he finds new rules during certain games that are not going his way. Also, hearing my younger son singing complicated songs is phenomenal.  

 

  1. Who’s the coolest person you’ve met, and why?
  2. Muhal Richard Abrams, renowned pianist, composer, educator and founder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. He is a very good friend and I consider him a musical mentor.

 

  1. What’s a piece of advice that your mom or dad gave you when you were a kid that you are now sharing with your children?
  2. Always be the best person you can be. This will have a huge impact on your actions toward other people.

 

  1. What’s the one album that every music lover must have in his/her collection, and why?
  2. “A Love Supreme” by John Coltrane. For me it’s the pinnacle of creative music.

 

  1. What’s the last live show you’ve seen?
  2. I don’t have time to go out much, but I saw Ralph Alessi’s trio at Korso and it was a fantastic concert.

 

  1. How do you teach your kids about music? What do you do to keep them engaged in music?
  2. Singing, listening, playing, ear training and rhythmic games, and also exposing them to all kinds of music, so they have a very wide exposure to musical genres.

 

  1. What are your kids listening to?
  2. Right now, mostly a lot of soundtracks from movies, like Charlie Brown, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Moana. Also Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and music from my upcoming solo piano CD.  I have to practice it at home and of course they are always around and checking it out. 

 

  1. What does the PS 9 school community mean to you?
  2. I like the PS 9 community because it’s very dynamic and diverse and the parents are doing such a great job. My son is very happy here, so I am as well.

 

Read more about Aruan’s work, and come see him perform live on March 4th at Littlefield!

 

Forty-two year-old Cuban-born, Brooklyn-based pianist, violinist, and composer Aruan Ortiz has written music for jazz ensembles, orchestras, dance companies, chamber groups, and feature films.  His work incorporates influences from contemporary classical music, Cuban-Haitian rhythms, and avant-garde improvisation, and consistently strives to break stylistic musical boundaries.  He has been called “the latest Cuban wunderkind to arrive in the United States” by BET Jazz and “one of the most versatile and exciting pianists of his generation” by Downbeat Magazine.  He has received numerous accolades including the Doris Duke Impact Award (2014); Composers Now Creative Residency Award at Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (2014); and the Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant (2013)—as well as many more.