[ ART DECO WEEKEND 2013 >> LIVE MUSIC ]
Michael Orta is an Associate Professor at FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY.
He is the Director of Jazz Performance and teaches Jazz Piano, Jazz Improvisation,
in addition to directing the school's Jazz and Latin Jazz Ensembles.
FRIDAY / 6:30PM — 11th STREET STAGE w/ The Christian Howes Band.
After years, proving himself as one of the (Latin) jazz elite pianist, playing in both ARTURO SANDOVAL and PAQUITO D'RIVERA's bands, he proved himself as a composer on two albums recorded on the Atlantic Jazz label with his own fusion/jazz band THE WAVE.
It was in 1991, when Michael toured as pianist for THE ARTURO SANDOVAL GROUP as well as recording on SANDOVAL's AMERICAN DEBUT, Flight To Freedom.
With this group Michael toured throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, and Europe.
In 1993, Michael was chosen as one of five FINALIST IN THE PRESTIGIOUS GREAT AMERICAN JAZZ PIANO COMPETITION, being selected out of a field of one hundred entrants from around the world.
In 1994, Michael spent the year touring and recording with THE PAQUITO D'RIVERA GROUP, playing concerts and clubs in Trinidad, Curaçao, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Paris, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Greece, Holland, and Slovenia.
The Sound of Freedom
— Freedom Tower Painting by Alexander Chen
Michael has released his debut album, FREEDOM TOWER on the Fantasy/Contemporary label. This CD features Paquito D'Rivera, Nicky Orta, Gary Campbell and others.
An Educated Man
— BACHELOR OF ARTS/JAZZ PERFORMANCE (UM/1989)
— MASTERS DEGREE/JAZZ PERFORMANCE (UM/1992)
Michael was given a full arts scholarship to study at MIAMI DADE COMMUNITY COLLEGE South Campus (MDCC-S) from 1984-86. While at MDCC-S, Michael performed in the JAZZ ENSEMBLE, under the direction of John Georgini, and recorded on their album, TOP SECRET.
In 1986, he performed with this ensemble at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, as well as a 5-week tour of Africa with the MDCC-S Jazz Sextet. Michael graduated in 1986 with an Associate of Arts degree.
From there Michael went on to study, under full scholarship, at the UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI. While there, he studied with well-known jazz pianist and educator, Vince Maggio. Michael performed in UM's prestigious CONCERT JAZZ BAND (CJB) under the direction of Whit Sidener. He played on the band's CD entitled Pandamandium as well as performing on the CJB's one month Italian Tour.
Today, Michael has also been an active clinician, sharing his musical knowledge and philosophies with music students in the U.S., Europe, Africa, and throughout South America. He has also written two books with Warner Brothers Publications:
— "JAZZ PEDAGOGY: THE BIG BAND RESOURCE GUIDE"
— "JAZZ ETUDES FOR PIANO"
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Michael began studying piano at the age of seven. His greatest jazz influences have been:
KEITH JARRETT, CHICK COREA, and HERBIE HANCOCK.
Michael has performed and/or recorded with some of the major names in jazz:
Bobby Thomas, Jr.
... and the list goes on.