Image of Oscar Hernandez
(Bronx, NY)  Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture presents four free events to complete its online 2020 Spring season. Among them, the engaging leader of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Oscar Hernández, (June 30) discusses the 3-time Grammy-award winning ensemble’s latest work, The Latin Jazz Project, as he talks of his extraordinary career and moving forward musically during the pandemic.
The events include the world premiere of Danzibar: From the Atlas of Imaginary Places, (June 29) the first of a larger body of work drawing from magical places in literature and film. Hostos music faculty member Ingrid Gordon and her group Percussia teamed up with acclaimed composer Victoria Bond to produce this one-of-a-kind flute, harp, viola, and percussion performance.
Rounding out the season are Annette A. Aguilar & StringBeans (June 25) performing their pioneering Latin style on the virtual stage, and the multicultural music of Hot Peas ‘N Butter (June 27) as fun entertainment for families. All events are free and presented through Facebook, Zoom or, or both. Hot Peas ‘N Butter will be simulcast on BronxNet, the public access network of the people of the Bronx. 

The events will take place as follows:
Women in Latin Jazz Festival
Annette A. Aguilar & StringBeans
When: Thursday, June 25, 7:30 p.m., Free online event
Latin Jazz pioneer and percussionist Annette Aguilar leads her ensemble StringBeans in a wide range of Latin styles, including music from Brazil. Aguilar has toured around the world with StringBeans; the band has produced three albums. The key American venues where they’ve performed include the Kennedy Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Born in San Francisco to Nicaraguan parents, Aguilar began playing the drums in sixth grade, and, by 16, she was sitting in with renowned Latin artists. She went on to play with Tito Puente, Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops, Jefferson Airplane, and The Grateful Dead, as well as Broadway shows. She is also a music educator with a master’s in music from the Manhattan School of Music and in music education from the City University of New York. The June 25 performance will feature pianist Nicki Denner, bassist Jennifer Vincent, and percussionist Wilson LaFontaine in addition to Aguilar.  A talkback will be held with the artists.
Hot Peas ‘N Butter
When: Saturday, June 27, 11:00 a.m., Free online event
Also available through the BX Culture Channel at
and TV channel 69 Optimum / 35 Fios
 The whole family can shake and wiggle to Hot Peas ‘N Butter’s fun blend of Latin music, Afro Caribbean rhythms, jazz, bluegrass, country, and rock. The eclectic style of the band, created by New Yorkers and lifelong friends Danny Lapidus and Francisco Cotto, crosses cultural boundaries. Performances incorporate five languages. 
Hot Peas ‘N Butter albums have won Parents’ Choice Awards and their music videos have appeared on Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon. 

The 2018 release Back to the Land, featuring special guests Laurie Berkner, Dan Zanes, and Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul and Mary), celebrates connections — to one another and to the planet.
On June 27, Hot Peas ‘N Butter’s multicultural sound will bring all ages to their feet (even if it may be in the living room!) when it is presented on Facebook and BronxNet.

Danzibar, From the Atlas of Imaginary Places
Percussia with Composer Victoria Bond
When: Monday, June 29, 7:30 p.m., Free online event

Acclaimed composer Victoria Bond and Hostos music faculty member Ingrid Gordon teamed up to create this unique performance inspired by Gulliver’s Travels and featuring Gordon’s group Percussia. The world premiere of Danzibar, From the Atlas of Imaginary Places, with flute, harp, viola and percussion, will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process. It is the first installment of what will be a larger work based on magical, imagined places from literature and film.
Commissioned by ensembles throughout the country, Bond has composed operas, ballets, piano concertos, and orchestral, chamber, choral, and keyboard compositions. She has been praised by The New York Timesas “powerful, stylistically varied and technically demanding.” Her opera, Clara, premiered at the Berlin Philharmonic Easter Festival in 2019. In addition to composing and performing, Bond is a passionate teacher of music and has taught at The Juilliard School and New York University among others. She is the first woman to have been awarded a doctorate in orchestral conducting from The Juilliard School and is the recipient of many awards, including honorary doctorates from Hollins and Roanoke colleges and Washington and Lee University. 
Gordon, a percussionist, directs the signature sound of Percussia. The ensemble marries lyrical instruments ­— flute, viola, harp — with a variety of percussion instruments. They label the result a mash-up of contemporary, chamber music, world, and popular music styles, crossing genres, styles, and cultural boundaries. Through their music, Percussia seeks to honor the cultural richness of their home-base neighborhood of Jackson Heights, Queens. In addition to percussionist Ingrid Gordon, the ensemble includes harpist Susan Jolles, flutist Margaret Lancaster, violist Lev Zhurbin, and percussionist Frank Cassara. 
A Conversation with Oscar Hernández
Musical Director, Spanish Harlem Orchestra
When: Tuesday, June 30, 2020, 7:30 PM, Free online event
A gifted pianist and renowned arranger on the Latin jazz and salsa scene, Oscar Hernández leads one of the finest music ensembles in the world. Commonly known as Oscar and SHO, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra has won three Grammys and been nominated for five. In a discussion covering his prolific career, Hernández will talk about the latest release from the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, The Latin Jazz Project, as well as his smaller ensembles and his take on working in the pandemic.
A Bronx native, Hernández began his career in the 1970’s and went on to become a leading pianist, composer, and bandleader in Latin music. He charted the musical course of the Rubén Blades Band and worked with many of the greats including Tito Puente, Julio Iglesias, Celia Cruz, Juan Luis Guerra, Ray Barretto, Gloria Estefan, and many others. He arranged and produced the music for Paul Simon’s Broadway musical The Capeman. His commercial work included playing piano for the theme song of the hit show Sex and the City.
In 2000, producer Aaron Levinson approached Hernández about the idea of assembling a Latin jazz orchestra. Two years later, the debut recording from the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Un Gran Dia en el Barrio, went on to receive a Grammy nomination for “Best Salsa Album.” The ensemble has traveled the world and released seven recordings, the most recent being The Latin Jazz Project, their first full length Latin jazz release. A litany of top-tier jazz artists are featured as guest soloists including Kurt Elling, Miguel Zenón, Tom Harrell, Michael Rodríguez, Dave Liebman, Bob Mintzer, Joe Locke, and others.

Joining Hernández in the June 30 online event are vibraphonist Joe Locke, trumpeter Michael Rodríguez, flutist and vocalist Jeremy Bosch, and trombonist, composer, and arranger Doug Beavers. The event will be hosted by Michael Ambrosino, producer, programmer and host of Currents, Dialectics & Dialogs at

About the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture
An integral part of Hostos Community College / CUNY since 1982, the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture includes two state-of- the-art theaters of 900 and 367 seats each, a black box experimental theater, and a museum-grade art gallery. The Center is a resource for students and faculty in addition to serving the cultural needs of South Bronx residents and neighboring communities. Recognized nationally as a leader in Latin and African-based programming, the performing and visual arts forums celebrate and cultivate the diverse cultural heritages of the Hostos Center’s audiences. Nearly 60,000 partake in the programs each year. The Center is dedicated to the development of emerging artists and the creation of new work. 
Support for Hostos Center programs come from the Hostos Community College Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Coalition for Theaters of Color, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Howard Gilman Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Office of NYC Councilmember Rafael Salamanca, Jr., and the Office of NYS Assemblyman José Rivera.
About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities for nearly half a century. Since 1968, Hostos has been a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.