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Roberto Occhipinti with Elmer Ferrer and Louis Simao



Roberto Occhipinti with Elmer Ferrer and Louis Simao

Roberto Occhipinti with Elmer Ferrer and Louis Simao

Thursday, September 24 | 6:30pm EDT

Istituto Italiano di Cultura
496 Huron Street




Presented by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in collaboration with Villa Charities

Roberto Occhipinti has won awards and acclaim as a musician, composer and record producer. Throughout his career, the Toronto-born bassist has performed in classical orchestras, jazz ensembles, Latin groups, rhythm & blues outfits and rock bands. He has worked in theatre and opera, written for radio and television, played on film soundtracks and done more recording session jobs than he can remember. From a young age, Occhipinti began straddling the worlds of jazz and classical music. After stints with the Winnipeg Symphony, the Hamilton Philharmonic and the Canadian Opera Company, Occhipinti fell under the spell of Latin music. Playing with Memo Acevedo’s Banda Brava led saxophonist Jane Bunnett to ask him to fill in for her bass player on a tour. Occhipinti wound up going to Cuba and playing on three of Bunnett’s albums, including the Juno Award-winning Ritmo and Soul and the Grammy-nominated Alma de Santiago. Through that association, he met Cuban-Canadian pianist Hilario Durán and produced three of Durán’s albums, including the Juno-winning New Danzon. Occhipinti also worked in the field of contemporary music, acting as principal bassist with the Esprit Orchestra and as a longtime member of Arraymusic. At the same time, he wrote music for CBC radio dramas and scored the soundtrack for the animated hit children’s series George Shrinks, which earned him a SOCAN composer’s award. Born of Sicilian heritage, Occhipinti introduced his guitarist brother Michael to field recordings made by ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, when he visited Sicily in the 1950s. The result was The Sicilian Jazz Project, a CD of reinterpretation of that traditional folk music with arrangements by Michael and production by Roberto. Next up for the busy bass player are new albums that he’s produced for Durán, Cuban drummer Dafnis Prieto and Quarrington, now one of the world’s top classical bassists.

ferrer1Elmer Ferrer is a Cuban-Canadian multi-awarded guitarist, music composer, producer and session musician, known for exceptional guitar and musicianship skills as one of the strongest voices in modern guitar music, as much as for being one of the most versatile and prolific session musicians ever from the legendary high-quality music producing island. Born in 1973 in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, Elmer first started to play guitar at age 11 and graduated from Classical Guitar at the National School of Arts in Havana at age 18. One year after graduating he became a teacher of Electric Guitar at the very same National School of Arts. By this time, Elmer’s professional career as a composer and guitarist had already kicked off. Ferrer launched his solo career in 2002, winning Best New Album of Year and a nomination as Best Jazz Album of the Year Cubadisco Awards 2003 with his first release Metropoli. His original instrumental Los Gatos de Alf, included in this CD, was Honorable Mention in the Jazz category at the International Songwriting Competition ISC 2006. Elmer was also one of three artists featured in Jazz Cuba Today, the first Jazz DVD made in Cuba, winner Best DVD of the Year Cubadisco Awards 2006. Elmer’s solo projects (the Elmer Ferrer Band, the Elmer Ferrer Trio and the Elmer Ferrer Jazz Project) feature Ferrer’s original music -a revolutionary, advanced take on the mix of Cuban, Latin, Jazz, Rock, Blues and World music, and have headlined international music festivals across the globe since 2005. Elmer has recorded over 150 CDs including two Latin Grammy nominee and several award-winning albums, and has performed live with world superstar artists like Zucchero, Juan Formell & Los Van Van, Chucho Valdes and Sting. Ferrer has also recorded a number of movie soundtracks, including recording guitars for the winner Best Score Goya Award film Habana Blues, recording the guitar of music legend singer Benny More for the movie El Benny with Cuban Grammy nominee producer Juan Manuel Ceruto, and being a featured artist in the Wim Wenders production Musica Cubana The Next Generation. From his home and studio based in Toronto, Ferrer continues to tour and record with some of the most significant music talent around. Recent work includes recording and performing with Canadian icon fiddlers Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy -with whom Elmer has been touring since 2015. Elmer is also the guitarist for Mark Kelso & the Jazz Exiles and the Larnell Lewis Band and recorded guitars on the first release by the drummer of three-time Grammy Award winning band Snarky Puppy -Larnell’s 2018 release In the Moment. He also frequently works with Canadian musician and film maker Les Stroud “Survivorman”, recording guitars for the 2018 release Bittern Lake and performing in the US & Canada multiple times since 2015.

LOUIS SIMÃO - accordion
simao4Award-winning, Toronto-based musician Louis Simão has been composing, performing and recording as a multi-instrumentalist in a variety of genres for over twenty years. Simão has performed and/or recorded with Nelly Furtado, Kiran Ahluwalia, Dominic Mancuso (2010 JUNO winner), Bïa, Michael Occhipinti’s Sicilian Jazz Project (2009 JUNO nominee), Luis Mario Ochoa, Justin Rutledge, Guinga, Henrique Cazes, Patricia Cano, Daniela Nardi’s Espresso Manifesto, Sophie Milman, “MARIA SEVERA” at The Shaw Festival, Tapestry New Opera Works, Eliana Cuevas and Aline Morales. Described as “utterly unique” (CBC Radio One), he was nominated in 3 separate categories for the 2017 International Portuguese Music Awards (IPMA), and won Song of the Year with his composition “Três Anos” (Simão/Petrilli). In November of 2017, he was named World Solo Artist of the Year by the Canadian Folk Music Awards for his first solo release, “A Luz” (The Light), and in April of 2018, was nominated by the Independent Music Awards for 2018 World Beat Artist of the Year. Louis is currently in the process of completing his next CD.

This is an outdoor event. In the event of rain, the concert will be cancelled or postponed.


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Date: Thursday, September 24, 2020

Time: At 6:30 pm

Organized by : Istituto Italiano di Cultura

Entrance : Free


Istituto Italiano di Cultura | 496 Huron Street