OAF News

Jazz Pianist and Composer Hilario Durán Awarded the Louis Applebaum Composers Award

Toronto, February 6, 2019 - Cuban born Hilario Durán is this year’s recipient of the Louis Applebaum Composers Award. This year’s $15,000 award recognizes excellence in a body of work by an artist in the field of jazz, and will be presented on Saturday, February 9 at 8:00 p.m., at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s concert featuring Hilario Durán and his Latin Jazz Big Band at Koerner Hall.

About Hilario Durán 
Hilario Durán has been based in Toronto for the past two decades, but his musical heart and soul have remained closely connected to the land of his birth. Durán grew up in Havana in a musical family surrounded by a variety of diverse musical influences. He began working as a professional musician in Cuba’s Los Papa Cun-Cun Ensemble and was Chucho Valdés’ chosen successor in Cuba's most modern big band, ‘Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna’. In the nineties, as part of the Arturo Sandoval band, Durán toured worldwide and had the opportunity to perform with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Michel Legrand, among many others.

Since arriving in Canada, Durán has established himself in his own name. He is a multi Juno Award winner and nominee; a Grammy nominee; a multi-Canadian National Jazz Award winner & nominee; and recipient of the 2007 Chico O’Farrill Lifetime Achievement Award from Latin Jazz USA for his outstanding contributions to Afro Cuban Jazz and Latin Jazz. Durán is a fixture on the Toronto music scene and was named ‘One of the 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians’ in 2009, Best Artist of the Year 2013 by the Toronto Musicians’ Association and the 2014 Best Vision Award Winner (Premio a la Trayectoria) for his work as entrepreneur leading his company ES MI MUSICA PRODUCTIONS.

Durán is an adjunct piano professor and ensemble director in the jazz faculty at Humber College.  


 Listen to:
“Ontario's Memories” composed by Hilario Durán
Momvement from the Suite to celebrate Canada's 150th Anniversary


Jury Comments
“Durán’s compositions are sonically complex and lush. His music is both lyrical and melodic, with beautiful harmonies and passionate results. His contribution to the art form and his artistic voice are so critical today, both in Canada and around the world. His music is rooted in tradition but he is continually pushing himself forward. Durán’s compositions don’t just warm your mind but also your soul.”

This year’s jury consisted of Alexis Baro, musician (Toronto), Kellylee Evans, singer (Ottawa), and Allan Walsh, musician, educator and festival programmer (Sudbury).

About the Award
The Louis Applebaum Composers Fund was established at the Ontario Arts Foundation in 1998 by Louis Applebaum to recognize excellence in music composition. The award is made biennially in the following alternating genres: film and television; theatre, music theatre, dance or opera; jazz; and composition for young people.

The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the award. The award winner is chosen through a nominating and adjudication process managed by the Ontario Arts Council.

Previous recipients include Alice Ping Yee Ho (2016), Mychael Danna (2014), and Dean Burry (2011). See the full list of previous recipients.


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For more information, please contact:
Alan Walker, Executive Director
Ontario Arts Foundation
Tel: (416) 969-7413  awalker@oafdn.ca

Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2017-2018, the OAF paid over $3.35 million in endowment income and $260,000 in awards and scholarships.

For more than 50 years, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2017-2018 the Ontario Arts Council invested $58.7 million in 231 communities across Ontario through 2,294 grants to individual artists and 1,474 grants to organizations. 

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