The Kennedy Center

Arturo Sandoval


The arrival of celebrated trumpet player Arturo Sandoval has been joyfully applauded throughout the jazz and classical music communities. 

Granted political asylum in July 1990 and U.S. citizenship in 1999, he, his wife, and son now call home Miami, Florida.  A protégé of the legendary jazz master Dizzy Gillespie, Mr. Sandoval was born in Artemisa on the outskirts of Havana, Cuba. He began studying classical trumpet at the age of twelve, but it didn't take him long to catch the excitement of the jazz world.  He has since evolved into one of the world's most important and praised guardians of jazz trumpet and flugelhorn, as well as a renowned classical artist.

Mr. Sandoval was a founding member of the Grammy Award-winning group Irakere, an explosive mixture of jazz, classical, rock and traditional Cuban music.  In 1981, he left Irakere to form his own band. Voted Cuba's Best Instrumentalist from 1982 to 1990, Mr. Sandoval has had twelve Grammy-nominations and has been awarded four. Before founding Irakere, he performed with the Cuban Orchestra of Modern Music and was a guest artist with the BBC Symphony in London and the Leningrad Symphony in Russia. 

Since his arrival in the U.S., Mr. Sandoval has increased his classical performances worldwide, including engagements with the National Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Atlanta Symphony among others.  Mr. Sandoval was a featured artist in the acclaimed Dizzy Gillespie United Nation Orchestra, and appeared on the orchestra's 1992 Grammy Award-winning album, Live at Royal Festival Hall.  He has performed with many artists, including Woody Herman, Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, Celine Dione at the Oscars, John Williams with the Boston Pops, and with Tony Bennett and Patti LaBelle at the Super Bowl.  His playing also can be heard on the soundtracks for Havana, the Mambo Kings with his Grammy- nominated composition "Mambo Caliente," and The Perez Family.

He was commissioned by the Kennedy Center to compose the music for Debbie Allen's dance-driven production Pepito's Story. His diverse style and versatility can be heard on many albums with a variety of artists, including Gloria Estefan's Into The Light and Mi Tierra, and with Johnny Mathis and Frank Sinatra.  In the U.S., Mr. Sandoval has recorded nine albums as a soloist--eight jazz albums and one classical album. 
As a teacher, he has lectured internationally and has performed at the Conservatoire de Paris and the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in the Soviet Union.  Mr. Sandoval is a professor of music at Florida International University.

Last updated: March 1, 2007
Arturo Sandoval