Toronto based composer and pianist David Virelles has won the Louis Applebaum Composers Award for 2008. This year’s $10,000 award recognizes excellence in a body of work by an emerging artist in the field of jazz composition.
Born and raised in Santiago de Cuba, to a musical family, David Virelles started to play the piano at the age of 7 and began composing at age 13. Classically trained in one of Cuba’s prestigious music schools, Virelles developed an interest in jazz listening to his grandfather’s record collection. Virelles has gained recognition for creating his own distinctive sound, in which improvisation within different structures is one of the most important components.
Based in Toronto since 2001, 25 year old Virelles studied at the University of Toronto, and at Humber College, where he won the first Oscar Peterson Award. His compositions have been featured on several groups/projects including his quintet, as well as Jane Bunnett and Spirits of Havana, the Neil Swainson Quartet, Francisco Mela, Roberto Occhipinti Quartet and the Roman Filiu Quartet. The CBC commissioned Virelles to write music to pay tribute to Glenn Gould on the 75th anniversary of his birthday. The piece, which featured Virelles and his quintet as well as the Penderecki String Quartet, was inspired by Gould’s documentary, “The Idea of the North”. Winner of numerous awards, his debut album “Motion” on the Justin Time label features original compositions performed by his group.
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