Latin Grammy winner Nestor Torres has joined the faculty of Florida International University this fall as a visiting guest artist and founding director of the FIU School of Music's first charanga ensemble.
Torres will also hold private jazz flute lessons for students in the School of Music.
“We are honored to receive Nestor Torres at FIU," said Orlando Jacinto Garcia, director of the School of Music. "His work here, forming one the nation's only university charanga ensembles and tutoring aspiring flutists, will be invaluable to the School of Music and to FIU.”
The charanga is an ensemble made up of winds, strings and percussion instruments that perform traditional and modern versions of the folk music from Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean.
Born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Torres moved to New York City as a teenager and attended Mannes School of Music in New York City, as well as Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. It was while playing in New York City's Latin dance clubs that he learned to improvise in the style of charanga, which helped to shape and develop his melodic and danceable sound.
In 1981, Nestor moved to Miami, where he continued to develop his unique sound. He has performed and recorded with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Tito Puente, Gloria Estefan and Ricky Martin.
He has recorded 13 CDs to date. His fifth and seventh records, Treasure of the Heart and My Latin Soul, were nominated for a Latin Grammy and This Side of Paradise won the Latin Grammy award in the pop instrumental category. His most recent work, Nouveau Latino, was also nominated for a Grammy and Latin Grammy in the Latin Jazz category.
“I am very excited to join the great faculty of the School of Music at FIU,” he said in a statement released by FIU. “It will be a pleasure and a privilege to share my love and knowledge of this wonderful music with a new generation of musicians.”