Campus News


Jazz Legends Billy Childs and Paquito D’Rivera Perform Together For the First Time

Aliso Viejo, CA Billy Childs and Paquito D’Rivera perform at Soka Performing Arts Center on Friday, March 9, 2018, at 8:00 p.m. as part of the Jazz Monsters Series. Tickets are $40 for adults; $32 for students, seniors, and active military families; and $29 each for groups of 10 or more. Purchase tickets online at or by calling 949-480-4ART (4278).

This will be the first time that Childs and D’Rivera have paired up to perform a public concert. Soka PAC’s General Manager David Palmer discusses how this came about: “While attending the Chamber Music America conference in January 2017, Billy Childs, the president of CMA, was interviewing Paquito D’Rivera as part of an award presentation. During the course of the conversation, both musicians stated how much they admired each other’s work, and that it was a pity that they had never actually performed together. At that point, Billy sat down at the piano and Paquito picked up his clarinet and they played together for the very first time. My immediate thought was–why not ask them if they want to do a concert together?”

Pianist Childs has emerged as one of the foremost American composers of his era, successfully marrying the musical products of his heritage with the Western neoclassical traditions of the twentieth century in a powerful symbiosis of style, range, and dynamism. Childs has garnered 16 Grammy nominations and five awards, most recently for the 2018 Best Jazz Instrumental Album (Rebirth). Previously he won two for Best Instrumental Composition (“Into the Light” from Lyric and “The Path Among the Trees” from Autumn: In Moving Pictures) and two for Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist (“New York Tendaberry” from Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro and “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” from To Love Again). In 2006, Childs was awarded a Chamber Music America Composer’s Grant, and in 2009 was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was also awarded the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award in 2013 and, most recently, the music award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2015.

D’Rivera defies categorization. The winner of 14 Grammy Awards, he is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. Born in Havana, Cuba, he performed at age 10 with the National Theater Orchestra, studied at the Havana Conservatory of Music and, at 17, became a featured soloist with the Cuban National Symphony. Additionally, he was a founding member and co-director of the innovative musical ensemble Irakere. With its explosive mixture of jazz, rock, classical, and traditional Cuban music never before heard, Irakere toured extensively throughout America and Europe, and won several Grammy nominations (1979, 1980) and a Grammy Award (1979). The National Endowment for the Arts affirms “he has become the consummate multinational ambassador, creating, and promoting a cross-culture of music that moves effortlessly among jazz, Latin, and Mozart.”

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