NESTOR TORRES “Latin Grammy Award Winner & Multi-Grammy Nominee” Nestor Torres is a Puerto Rican flautist. He studied at Berklee College of Music, Mannes School of Music in NYC and later at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Torres’ career includes collaborations with Herbie Hancock, Tito Puente, and Gloria Estefan, Kenny Loggins, Dave Matthews, Paquito D’Rivera and Arturo Sandoval. as well as performances with The New World, Cleveland and Singapore Symphony Orchestras. He has released 18 CDs to date and has earned 4 Latin Grammy nominations, 1 Latin Grammy Award, and a Grammy nomination. His playing incorporates a seamless blend of Latin jazz, pop, straight-ahead jazz and classical styles. He has been described as “an exotic mix of styles that takes the listener through American, Brazilian, and Afro-Cuban jazz”.
In addition to the Latin Grammy, Nestor Torres is the recipient of many awards, including two honorary doctorate degrees from Barry University and Carlos Albizu University, for his commitment to youth, education and cultural exchanges.
EARLY LIFE AND INFLUENCES
Born in the city of Mayaguez Puerto Rico, Nestor Torres was inspired to pursue music by his Father, Nestor Ramon, a musician who played piano as well as the Vibraphone and the Hammond organ, and who distinguished himself as a pioneer of both Latin Jazz and television (as a camera man & sound man) in Puerto Rico during the early 60s. Torres Sr. was the nephew of Ruth Fernandez, a singer and iconic figure in Latin America known as “The soul of Puerto Rico made into song” (El Alma de Puerto Rico Hecha Cancion). His mother, Providencia, a retired teacher and businesswoman, exposed Torres to Opera and the music of Nat King Cole while his grandfather, Conrado Forestier, a respected business and community leader in Mayaguez, was an influence through his example as a community leader.
Torres began playing drums at age 5 and the flute at age twelve, when he began music studies at the ‘Escuela Libre de Musica’ in Mayaguez during his Middle school and high school years. Graduating from high school at age 16, he studied flute and music education for 2 years at Inter American University in San German, after summer studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
While still in his teenage years, Nestor Torres moved with his family to New York City, where he went on to study at Mannes School of Music. During that time he also learned to improvise in a style of Cuban Dance music called ‘Charanga’ while playing with some of the top Latin Bands of the day (Tipica Ideal, Conjunto Libre, Orquesta America, Tipica Novel) in New York City’s hottest dance clubs of the time. The young flautist gained attention; soon Torres was recording and playing with the likes of Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Larry Harlow and Hector Lavoe among many others. After a year and a half at Mannes, he took a year’s break from school while recording and touring in New York and Latin America, and later continued studies at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Throughout this period his teachers included John Wummer, David Barg, Sam Baron, Andras Adorjan, Ran Blake and Claude Monteux. By the time he was 23, Nestor Torres had 4 solo albums to his name: ‘Colombia en Charanga’, ‘Entre Amigos’ (with Colombian pianist Joe Madrid), ‘Afro Charanga Vol.2’ and ‘No Me Provoques’. Additionally, it is during this period that Torres does pioneering work with the Puerto Rican ensemble known as ‘Batacumbele”.
While still in New York City, Nestor Torres joined the Charanga group ‘Hansel & Raul’, touring and recording on their first 3 albums. Soon after joining, the band relocated to Miami and asked Torres to follow them. He accepted and moved to South Florida in 1982, where he would eventually go on his own as a soloist, developing his own sound beyond Latin Music and garnering a devoted grassroots-following in the process. His “big break” came in 1984, when the organizers of a Miami Beach festival found themselves without music, with Democratic presidential contender Walter Mondale just minutes away. There was a band on hand, but it would take precious time for them to set up and they needed music immediately. Torres began playing a flute solo right away while his band set up, building up into a jam session that saved the day. After that, job offers started pouring in. His success in Miami went national in 1987 with his first appearance on NBC’s the Today Show, and international with the “Super Sounds Japan Tour” with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter in 1988. That was followed by the release of his first major solo Jazz album, ‘Morning Ride’, and his first TV special on Miami’s NBC affiliate, “Nestor Torres: A Matter Of Pride.”
By 1990 Nestor Torres was already a well established international artist working on the production of his 2nd Jazz album, when he was invited to participate in a celebrity boat race with Chuck Norris, Kurt Russell and Don Johnson scheduled for May 12 of that year. Circling Biscayne Bay behind the wheel, on the very first turn another boat hit his, flying over and falling on Torres. The boating accident left him with nineteen fractures on the ribs, both collar bones broken, left shoulder dislocated, as well as a fractured left shoulder blade and a collapsed lung, causing him to lose a quarter of his lung capacity at the time. It took him several months to recover, and it was questionable whether he would regain his full capacity as a musician. However, Torres not only continued with his career, but entered an even more productive phase. In addition to releasing four more albums, he took part in a documentary detailing (legendary Cuban Bassist) Cachao’s life, Cachao: Como su ritmo no hay dos (Cachao: No Rhythm Like His), recorded on Gloria Estefan’s CD Mi Tierra and performed with her at The Grammy Awards Show, and even made his debut as a vocalist; first on his 1996 album ‘Talk To Me’ and later on his 2001 Latin Grammy Winning ‘This Side of Paradise’ with which, a decade after his brush with death, Torres’s hard work and superb artistry were recognized when he won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album.
LATIN GRAMMY AWARD ON 9/11
His production This Side Of Paradise won the Latin Grammy award in the Pop instrumental category on September 11, 2001. The awards were to have been presented at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA with a CBS national telecast that Tuesday, but it was cancelled because of the terrorist attacks that morning. Instead, the winners were announced at a press conference on October 30 at the Conga Room. Torres says: “I accepted this great honor not as a recognition for work already accomplished, but rather as a point of departure and reference from which my music and work could inspire hope and humanity in each listener’s heart.”
With that newfound sense of purpose, Torres traveled to New York City in November 2001 to meditate and perform in various houses of worship near Ground Zero. “It was my intention to be a conduit for whatever energy was present in the city at the time, and channel it into my music…” he recalls. From those improvisational performances emerged the songs included in his album Dances, Prayers & Meditations for Peace, which also included his composition Dances, Prayers & Meditations For Peace, a commissioned work he composed and performed for the Dalai Lama.
Since then, Torres has continued to focus on crossover multi-media productions, compositions and performances, consistent with his sense of mission. To that effect, his compositions “Successors, Marta y Maria and Disarmament Suite (commissioned by the Miami Children’s Chorus, St. Martha-Yamaha Concert Series and ICAP (International Committee of Artists for Peace) respectively are expansions on the Nestor Torres multi-cultural fusion sounds as expressions of today’s world.
Nestor has also toured all over the world, including Dubai, Singapore, Indonesia and Japan (including Hiroshima), not only making music but speaking as an Ambassador of Culture and Peace as well. In Medellin, Colombia he joined Deepak Chopra on a dialogue and panel discussion, “Values For A New Leadership”, presented by The Alliance For A New Humanity. In Costa Rica, he met with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate President Oscar Arias to discuss practical ways in which music and the arts play a pivotal role in raising capable young people committed to develop a culture of peace. In Jordan, he met with and performed for HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal and exchanged ideas for the establishment of a ‘Parliament of Culture’.
PERFORMANCES FOR THE DALAI LAMA
In 2004 Nestor Torres is commissioned by the Center for the Study of Spirituality at Florida International University to compose and perform “The Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law” on the ocassion of the Dalai Lama’s lecture titled Compassion – The Source of Happiness at the Golden Panther Arena at FIUUniversity Park on September 22, 2004. On Tues., Oct. 26, 2010 at Temple Emanu-El, Torres again performed a musical interlude dedicated to the Dalai Lama, this time his own composition “Saint Peter’s Prayer”. Sharing the stage with the Buddhist Lama were representatives of the Jewish faith, as well as the Catholic and Protestant churches, Islam, Hinduism, Jainism and Taoism.
Latest Albums: In 2017 Nestor released two albums. First on September 15, 2017 he released the 2018 Latin Grammy nominee “Jazz Flute Traditions” a spectacular tribute and homage to his jazz flute mentors and influences, and on October 13, 2017 he released his first classical album titled, “Del Caribe, Soy”, paying tribute to the great Puerto Rican composer Rafael Hernandez. Management: Anthony Gonzalez / ALG Entertainment firstname.lastname@example.org