Omar Puente

I have performed in both classical and jazz genres to positive audiences worldwide. On leaving Cuba, I was first violin with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, and toured with Buena Vista’s Ruben Gonzales. Since arriving in England in 1997, I have maintained an international profile when possible, playing all over Europe, Middle and Far East, the USA and Africa. In England I have supported Tito Puente, Ibraham Ferrer and Omara Portundo, I have played with John Williams, Kirsty MacColl, Jools Holland and Eddie Palmieri as well as being invited to jam with many visiting Latin artists such as Ruben Gonzales and the Afro Cuban Allstars. I have maintained close links with both traditional Cuban Music and Classical genres as well as Jazz. This has included a number of high profile projects such as appearing with Winston Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra at the Barbican Centre, with the Simon Bolivar Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, with Nigel Kennedy at 606 Jazz Club, with Eddie Palmieri at Queen Elizabeth Hall, and with several members of the Buena Vista Social Club.

I was part of Denys Baptiste’s international tour ‘Let Freedom Ring’, based on a brilliant composition commissioned to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther Kings inspirational ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.

 I play with Courtney Pine, and in 2006 released the CD ‘Bridges’ with Robert Mitchel and completed an Arts Council supported tour focussed on performing in rural areas across the UK. Robert and I were also involved In developing a fusion project ‘Nuance’ with members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. I worked with Dennis Rollins on a commissioned work for Ensemble 360 culminating in a well-received performance at Doncaster Minster in February 2006.

The opportunity to play and work and record with the artists mentioned above as well as others such as Rod Youngs, Jason Yarde, Cameron Pierre and Byron Wallen, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, (the list goes on and on) has allowed me to develop my own sound, drawing together elements of jazz, classical and cuban music, and this fusion of multi – national roots forms the basis of an exciting new approach to Jazz in my forthcoming album, ‘Best Foot Forward’

I have also appeared on the BBC and several ITV channels, various radio shows as well as venues the length and breadth of Britain. From Aberdeen to the Isle of Wight, Newcastle to the Eden Project Belfast to Cork including; Ronnie Scott’s, The Jazz Café, QEH, the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall, participating in major projects such as Jazz Britannia. The tour for my 2009 album ‘From There to Here’ included well known Jazz Festivals beginning with a launch as part of the London Jazz Festival in November 2006, and including others such as Brecon Jazz Festival, Warsaw Jazz Festival, and well known venues such as Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. Tracks from the forthcoming ‘Best Foot Forward’ have been previewed at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, and on tour in Brazil.

My Cuban qualifications incorporate a teaching qualification, I have taught extensively in the UK including the UK’s most prestigious music colleges, and also in Cuba. I have taught Jazz Violin and a range of Latin Jazz Ensembles at Leeds College of Music and at various other places including London City University. I now teach at Trinity College in London. I continue to teach in Havana at the prestigious National Conservatoire, and have recently and published a University level textbook on the violin in Cuban Music.

I maintain a close relationship with the Cuban Ministry of Culture, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, and support the ‘attitude is everything’ campaign to encourage arts venues to become accessible to disabled artists and patrons. 

 

Omar Puente's website

Omar Puente and Viva La Revolucion! at Ronnie Scott's Bar, August 2009