Ilmar Gavilán

Manhattan School of Music

Violinist Ilmar Ilmar Gavilán, a native of Havana, Cuba, has had a remarkable performing career that has taken him all over the world. This fascinating journey ranges from performing for world leaders such as President Obama at the White House and Queen Sofia of Spain at The Royal Palace of Madrid to performing with top stature artists of diverse styles such as Itzhak Perlman and Chick Corea.

As a soloist, Gavilán has performed concertos with the Atlanta, New Jersey, Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Hartford, Nashville, Ann Arbor, Santa Monica, Phoenix, Denver, Louisiana, Anchorage, Santa Fe, Havana, Mexico City and Venezuela Symphonies and played recitals in England, Russia, Spain and Portugal. An avid chamber musician, Gavilan has performed with Itzhak Perlman, Arnold Steinhardt, Ida Kavafian, Carter Brey, Paul Katz, Fred Sherry, Anthony McGill and Misha Dicter. He has participated in numerous chamber music festivals including Tanglewood, Ravinia and Angel Fire.

Jazz and Afro-Cuban music have found a shining place in Gavilán’s musical life. Alongside his accomplished classical music career, he has enjoyed the privilege of performing with jazz legends Chick Corea and Gary Burton. This collaboration earned him a Grammy for the recording of the Hot House album as member of the Harlem Quartet. Gavilán also performed and commercially released albums with Paquito D’Rivera, Eddie Palmieri and Dafnis Prieto. Other jazz collaborations include performing with Stanley Clark, Lee Konitz, Henry Threadgill and Doc Severinsen. Gavilán has been presented in iconic Jazz venues such as The Blue Note in New York as well as International Montreal Jazz, Detroit Jazz, Panama Jazz and Saalfelden Jazz Festivals.

Gavilán has made numerous recordings with the Harlem Quartet as a founding member. In addition to these, his U.S. solo recording debut Aires y Leyendas and his latest solo album Por el Mar solely comprised of music composed by his father Guido Lopez-Gavilán, including a violin concerto dedicated to him, are available on Amazon and iTunes.

An experienced educator, Gavilán has taught at The Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program. In addition to private students, he has also taught chamber music and given master classes worldwide, most prominently at Música Mundi in Belgium, Soweto Music Academy in South Africa, Eumak Journal Festival in South Korea and “El Sistema” in several youth orchestras throughout out Venezuela. In the U.S., Gavilán has given master classes at Brevard Summer Institute, Eastman School of Music, Interlochen Arts Academy, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Berklee School of Music and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Gavilán’s own academic journey began at the Manuel Saumell Conservatory in his native Havana. Having won all national competitions in which he participated, he was selected for advanced studies at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow at the age of 14. Through the personal recommendation and royal scholarship of Queen Sofia of Spain, his studies took him to the Reina Sofia School of Music in Spain, where he studied with Zakhar Bron. Later studies brought him to the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where he studied with Glen Dicterow. As a founding member of the Harlem Quartet, Gavilán received a Graduate Diploma in Quartet Performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston. His mentors there included Donald Weilerstein and Miriam Fried. In addition, he received private lessons from legendary Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern and Ruggiero Ricci. Gavilán received a Doctorate in Musical Arts at Rutgers University under the mentorship of Arnold Steinhardt and has won first prize at the Sphinx Competition as well as top honors at the Lipinski-Wieniaswski and the Henryk Szeryng International Violin Competitions.

SummerFest home page

Get News from Us

Sign Up