Yosvany TerryDirector of Jazz Ensemble, Senior Lecturer on Musciat Harvard University
Since arriving in New York City in 1999 Cuban saxophonist, percussionist, and composer Yosvany Terry “has helped redefine Latin jazz as a complex new idiom,” says The New York Times.
Born into an illustrious musical family in Camaguey, Cuba, Yosvany Terry is an internationally acclaimed composer, saxophonist, percussionist, bandleader, educator and cultural bearer of the Afro-Cuban tradition. After immersing himself in the European classical tradition at Havana’s prestigious National School of Arts (ENA) and Amadeo Roldan Conservatory he went on to perform with major figures in every realm of Cuban music, including celebrated nueva trova singer/guitarist Silvio Rodriguez, pianists Chucho Valdes and Frank Emilio, and Don Pancho y Los Terry, the band led by his father, violinist and shekere master Eladio “Don Pancho” Gonzales.
From his earliest days in New York, Terry has been embraced by the jazz and contemporary music community, playing with Branford Marsalis, Rufus Reid, Dave Douglas, Steve Coleman, Roy Hargrove, Henry Threadgill, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Taj Mahal and the Eddie Palmieri Afro-Caribbean Sextet. While best known as a blazing improviser, he’s rapidly gaining renown as a composer, bandleader and educator with a string of high-profile awards, appointments and commissions. In 2015, Terry was named a recipient of the prestigious Doris Duke Artist Award and was hired by Harvard University as Director of Jazz Ensembles and Senior Lecturer on Music. He has received recent commissions from San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Garden Festival (“Noches de Parranda” for 12-piece ensemble with the support of The MAP Fund), the French-American Jazz Exchange with support from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (“Ancestral Memories” with French pianist Baptiste Trotignon), and the Harlem Stage (the score for the opera “Makandal,” premiering in 2016-17). Terry also received a grant from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and New York State Music Fund to create Afro-Cuban Roots: Yedégbé, a suite of Arará music.
His latest release, 2014’s GRAMMY Award-nominated “New Throned King” (5Passion), features music based on cantos and rhythms of the Arará people of the eastern Cuban province of Matanzas, who hail from the Dahomey kingdom’s Fon culture in what is now Benin. His previous album, 2012’s “Today’s Opinion” (Criss Cross), was selected as one of the Top 10 Albums of the Year by the New York Times’ Nate Chinen. Terry’s latest project, The Bohemian Trio, is a genre-defying contemporary music ensemble based in New York slated to release its first album in the Spring of 2016.