Short Bio

Pianist, violist, and composer Aruán Ortiz – born in Santiago de Cuba, and resident of Brooklyn, NY – has been an active figure in the progressive jazz and avant-garde scene in the US for more than 15 years.

Named “one of the most creative and original composers in the world” (Lynn René Bayley, The Art Music Lounge), he has written music for jazz ensembles, orchestras, dance companies, chamber groups, and feature films, incorporating influences from contemporary classical music, Cuban Haitian rhythms, and avant-garde improvisation. Aruán consistently strives to break stylistic musical boundaries.

He has received multiple accolades including Mid-Atlantic Foundation US Artists International (2017), Composer Fellowship Award at Vermont College of Fine Arts (2016); the Doris Duke Impact Award (2014); the Composers Now Creative Residency at Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (2014).

His unique musical vision has been covered in magazines and newspapers in Europe and the US including Jazz ‘n’ More (Swizerland), The Guardian (UK), Expresso (Portugal), The New York Times, DownBeat, JazzTimes, Jazziz, The Boston Globe, Chicago Jazz Magazine, San Diego Union Tribune, and All About Jazz (US), Jazzpodium (Germany), Musica Jazz, Il Muro Magazine, Il Corriere della Sera and Jazz Convention (Italy), The Ottawa Citizen (Canada), The Irish Times (Ireland), and Way Out West (Japan), among many others.

His recent albums have received five stars from prestigious jazz magazines around the world. Hidden Voices (Intakt 2016) was lauded as “a solid and unique new sound in today’s jazz world,” by Matthew Fiander in PopMatters, and his solo piano effort Cub(an)ism (2017) was called "a genius exercise in the exploration of depth and perception that reveals a bright new wrinkle in the relationship between music and mathematics, reimagining Afro-Haitian Gaga rhythms, Afro-Cuban rumba and Yambú into heavily improvised meditations on modernism that recall John Cage and Paul Bley,” (Ron Hart, The Observer).

Aruán has played, toured, or recorded with jazz luminaries such as Wadada Leo Smith, Don Byron, Greg Osby, Wallace Roney, Nicole Mitchell, William Parker, Adam Rudolph, Andrew Cyrille, Henry Grimes, Oliver Lake, Rufus Reid, Terri Lyne Carrington, and collaborated with choreographer José Mateo; filmmaker Ben Chace; poet Abiodun Oyewole from The Last Poets; DJ Logic and Val Jeanty; and German writers Angelika Hentschel and Anna Breitenbach.

He holds a MFA in Music Composition by Vermont College of Fine Arts focus in 20th Century Contemporary Classical Music, and his growing portfolio include recent works for string quartet, percussion trio and piano, brass quintet, piano trio, and symphony orchestra, among others.