Book Signing for “Mambo Diablo My Journey with Tito Puente” by Joe Conzo & David A. Perez

Dear Friends:

Harbor Conservatory and the Raices Latin Music Museum are pleased to host a book signing on February 14th a 7:00 pm celebrating the historic release of “Mambo Diablo My Journey with Tito Puente, written by Joe Conzo with David A. Perez.  The event will be held at the Harbor, the “Home of Latin Music” located at One East 104th Street and Fifth Avenue in Fifth Avenue , Third Floor Theater.  Here’s an opportunity to purchase this in depth look at the genius of East Harlem’s most famous son—Tito Puente, and have it signed by the man who knew the King best—Joe Conzo.

Adding to the excitement, will be the performance of several noted Puente tunes presented by the Harbor Latin Big Band under the direction of Louis Bauzo, one time member of the Tito Puente Orchestra.  In recognition of the Harbor Conservatory’s commitment to maintain Tito’s legacy through its Tito Puente Scholarship Fund, Latin Percussion will present the school with a set of Tito Puente signature timbales.

Joe Conzo and David A. Perez luminously recreate the life of widely acclaimed Afro-Cuban and jazz musician Tito Puente in the biography “Mambo Diablo – My Journey with Tito Puente.” The authors chronicle the life of the popular and combative New York Puerto Rican multi talented musician and entertainer who climbed from his poor environment in East Harlem (El Barrio), New York to international fame and recognition.Mambo Diablo My Journey with Tito Puente Cover Image.

Countless stories have been written about Tito Puente’s percussive musical abilities, but rarely has the talent, intuition, mishaps and controversies been presented in a vivid and personal biography. Joe Conzo was Tito’s close friend, confidant and chronicler for nearly 40 years – no one was closer to Tito or knew him better, not even his family. Joe tells the story of a man and his music the way it has never been told. David A. Perez sets down Joe’s personal recollections and fits them into the context of the social milieu and revolving world.Joe Conzo was Tito Puente’s publicist, confidant and archivist for close to 40 years. He maintains perhaps one of the largest recorded and non-recorded music collections that include works of Tito Puente and many others. From 1980 – 2002, he was the Chairman for the Tito Puente Scholarship Fund, producing numerous fundraising concerts and dances featuring such artists as Celia Cruz, Ray Barretto, Charlie and Eddie Palmieri, Art Blakely, Max Roach and others. He is a much in demand lecturer on the History of Latin Music and is considered the foremost expert on the life and music of Tito Puente, having spoken at Yale University , SUNY at Buffalo , New School for Social Research, among other institutions of Higher Learning. He served as a consultant on such projects as the Latin Tinge on WNET, with Beverly Sills, the naming of a US postage stamp honoring Tito Puente and served as compilation producer and writer of liner notes for countless recordings and CDs.  He is currently the Director of the Tito Puente Legacy Project at Hostos Community College .

DAVID A. PEREZ – is a former political and sports writer of the San Juan STAR in Puerto Rico . He also worked as a journalist in Washington , DC . David is a retired lottery industry executive. He is a published author and is an historical researcher of Cuban charanga music (violins, flutes and rhythm) and the “habanera” the foundation of Cuban danzón, ragtime, Argentine tango, Puerto Rican danza and other South, Central American and Caribbean music. He has an extensive collection of music – Afro-Cuban, jazz, theater and classical. He plays the flute (including the wooden unadorned six-hole, five key flute used by authentic charanga orchestras).

Mambo Diablo – My Journey with Tito Puente is now available at Borders, Barnes & Nobles and  For additional information please contact Joe Conzo at 845/313-3621


Free Jazz Concert

Dear Friends:
Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts, is pleased to present the Harbor Jazz Composers Concert featuring the members of the Jazz Composition Ensemble on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm, at our home site at One East 104th Street in the Third Floor Theater, as part of the city-wide Composers Now Festival.  Admission is FREE. The concert will feature works by student composers enrolled in the Conservatory’s Jazz Program, under the direction of Gustavo Casenave.  The Jazz Composition Ensemble performs student compositions in the Jazz idiom. The repertory includes blues, ballads, contemporary post bebop, and avant-garde works.

COMPOSERS NOW, presently in its second year,  puts a public face on the vitality, diversity, and innovations that composers bring to our communities, and was established by composer, conductor Tania Leόn and composer Laura Kaminsky, Artistic Director at Symphony Space and Coordinator of Composers Now.  Believing that music pervades our world, yet the men and women who create the sounds we hear are often unsung.  The Harbor Jazz Composers Concert is a part of Composers Now, a festival celebrating the music of our time at venues throughout the city February 21-27, 2011

The Harbor Conservatory Jazz Program, under the direction of pianist/composer Gustavo Casenave is designed to develop skilled performers, composers, and arrangers in preparation for advanced college level study and future professional careers. Focusing on all aspects of Jazz education, this program offers an innovative curriculum, comprised of not only traditional Jazz studies, but a broader world – vision of Jazz and the art of improvisation. Master classes and concerts by major Jazz artists, are offered in addition to the arranging, composition, ear training, and performance courses and opportunities.

Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts is the first New York City member of the Berklee City Music Network of the Berklee College of Music and is a recipient of support from the NAMM Foundation, D’Addario Music Foundation and Mockingbird Foundation.

Celebrating Tito Puente

Dear Friends,

It’s been almost 10 years since the passing of one our country’s greatest multi talented musicians, the great El Rey—Tito Puente, but his music and memory are being kept alive by Joe Conzo, Sr., Ramon Rodriguez, Director of Harbor Conservatory’s Latin Music Program and Codigo Records with their new release of the complete Tito Puente TICO 78s and Tito Puente El Rey. To learn more about the maestro’s enduring love for Harbor Conservatory– the leading school for Latin Music and his great friend Joe Conzo’s memories of the man behind the music as told in his upcoming book “Mambo Diablo My Journey with Tito Puente”, and the new Codigo release– set your television sets for WABC Channel 7’s “Tiempo” scheduled for November 21st at 11:30 am.  Hosted by Joe Torres, “Tiempo” is a weekly round-table discussion show about topics affecting and relating to Hispanic citizens.

A master timbalero, arranger, composer, bandleader, and proud son of East Harlem, Tito Puente cared deeply about education for young students and the need for youngsters to continue and/or begin their musical studies, as well as to reaffirm pride in Hispanic culture. Up until his death in 2000, The Conservatory was an annual recipient of Mr. Puente’s own scholarship Fund, and with permission from the Puente family we have continued the scholarship in his memory. The Tito Puente Scholarship Fund provides support for Latin percussion students as well as piano students through the Charlie Palmieri Memorial Scholarship which was established by Mr. Puente at the Harbor almost twenty years ago.

Nina Gale Olson
Senior Portfolio Manager

Faculty Member Pablo Mayor at Latin American Cultural Week

Dear Friends,

Harbor Conservatory faculty member Pablo Mayor will be performing as part of the Closing Event Celebration at the 5th Annual Latin American Cultural Week.  This event will take place on November 17th from 7:00-10:00 PM at the Flamboyan Theater on 107 Suffolk Street, between Delancey and Rivington.  Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.  Hope to see you all there!


Gretchen Farrar & Francisco Roldan to Perform at Harbor Conservatory

Dear Friends,

We are pleased to present soprano Gretchen Farrar and guitarist Francisco Roldán in a recital on Saturday, November 13 at 12:00 noon in the Third Floor Theater. The duo will perform works by Britten, Brower, Dowland, Cordero, Albeniz, Lorca and Sor. Admission is free. The Conservatory’s Guest Artist Recital Series is made possible with support from the Music Program of the New York State Council on the Arts.

Gretchen Farrar is a versatile singer with diverse repertoire in both concert and opera.  The Münchner Merkur described her 2009 performance of American songs with Elysium-Between Two Continents in Germany as “technically more than brilliant… an overall elegant tightrope-walk between charming entertainment and profound quality…” The New York Times noted her “passionate and shapely performance” of Ernesto Cordero’s songs with guitarist Francisco Roldán at the 2008 Mannes Guitar Festival.  Gretchen most recently collaborated with guitarist Francisco Roldán on a CD of songs in Spanish and English released early this Fall.  She frequently performs works from Spain and the Americas in and around New York City with Francisco and pianist Alexander A. Wu.

In the contemporary realm, Ms. Farrar has performed chamber music with New Music New York, including works by Gleaves, Glass and Warde.  She has offered songs by Copland, Hundley and Swenson with pianist LeAnn Overton at Merkin Hall.  Gretchen has commissioned works by composers Rebecca Oswald and Lily Barmor Rose. On the opera stage, Gretchen most recently sang Soeur Constance in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites with Hudson Opera Theatre.  Other credits include Anchorage Opera, Eugene Opera, Belleayre Festival Opera, Opera at Florham, Dicapo Opera, and National Lyric Opera.  Some of her roles have included Micaela, Serpina, Susanna, and Despina.

The Colombian-born guitarist, Francisco Roldán, has been entertaining audiences since his early years at the Mannes College of Music. He received annual scholarships and attained the Master’s Degree in Performance from the Mannes College of Music. He subsequently supplemented his studies by playing in master-classes for Manuel Barrueco, Sharon Isbin, David Russell, and Paul O’Dette. In the spring of 1993 he gave a solo New York debut recital at the Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall that launched his career as a soloist.

Francisco Roldán has performed throughout the USA at Merkin Concert Hall, Alice Tully Hall Weill Recital Hall and CAMI Hall in New York, the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, Harmony Hall in Maryland, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Milwaukee, for the Philadelphia Guitar Society, the New Jersey Chamber Music Society, the Puffin Gallery, the Colombian Consulates in New York and in Boston, the Smithsonian Library in Washington, D.C., the Museum of the City of New York, Round Top Music Festival, the Spanish Institute, Gracie Mansion, the Americas Society, and various universities and libraries. He has also played in Bogotá, Colombia and in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His first CD of solo music, titled “Latin Guitar” (in which he interprets the music of Barrios, Lauro, and which contains the World Premiere recording of the Dominican composer Rafael Landestoy’s complete works for guitar), was released in 2003. In 2005 he released his second CD titled “Almost All Bach” in which he interprets the music of J.S. Bach and D. Scarlatti. Francisco Roldán is currently on the faculty of the Mannes College of Music Extension and Preparatory Divisions and at Lehman College, City University of New York.

Nina Gale Olson
Director of External Affairs

Celebrate Tito Puente with the Harbor Conservatory Latin Big Band

Dear Friends,

Join us on November 6, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. for a special concert produced by Joe Conzo celebrating the music of the late Tito Puente, the legendary composer and bandleader — one of the greatest figures in the history of Latin Jazz and Mambo. Louis Bauzó, a former member of the Tito Puente Orchestra, leads the Harbor Conservatory Latin Big Band in this thrilling concert honoring “The King of Latin Music” with special guest musician Ronnie Puente, Tito Puente’s eldest son, who continues his father’s musical legacy on percussion, bass, and saxophone. Adding to the excitement is a sizzling Salsa Dance performance. Celebrating Tito is a complement to the New York Historical Society’s current exhibition at El Museo del Barrio, Nueva York 1613-1945.

The Concert will be held at the New York Society for Ethical Culture at 2 West 64th Street at Central Park West. Full Price Ticket (Non-Members): $20.00, Member Cost: $10.00. Tickets for this program are sold through SmartTix, and can be ordered online at or by phone please call at 212-868-4444. The SmartTix Call Center is open 9am-8pm Monday through Friday, 10am-8pm Saturday and 10am-6pm Sunday. For more information on programs, please call the N-YHS Public Programs Department at 212-485-9205.

Nina Gale Olson
Director of External Affairs

Paloma Gratereaux Awarded Bertin K. Rowser Scholarship

Dear Friends,

Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts is pleased to announce that Paloma Gratereaux has been selected as the 2010 – 2011 recipient of the Bertin K. Rowser Scholarship for Excellence.  Bertin K. Rowser was active in New York City Theater for more than 20 years and served as the Artistic and Theater Arts Director of the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts for ten years beginning in 1986.  He passed away on March 5, 1998.

A passionate and tireless advocate for quality performing arts education for young people, Bertin Rowser had a remarkable gift for motivating and inspiring both students and colleagues.  By creating vital theater pieces that addressed issues facing the lives of his inner-city students, to preparing his students for a professional career, to building bridges for his Harbor Conservatory students with the Rye Arts Center and the Juilliard School, to creating a lasting love of the art of learning, Bertin’s presence enriched and inspired people’s lives.

The Scholarship was created in 1998 through the generous contribution of parents, students, friends, and associates with the goal of sustaining the signature of Bertin’s life for future generations of young performers.  It was established with a lead gift from long time friend and former college classmate, Jane Lindberg.  Bertin encouraged students to become “triple threats” performers skilled at acting, dancing and singing. The scholarship acknowledges the financial constraints of studying all three disciplines, and enables recipients to study music, dance and theater at The Conservatory on a full scholarship for one year.

Scholarship recipient Paloma Gratereaux has been training at Harbor Conservatory for six years in the Music, Dance and Theater Programs.  Last year, she auditioned for and joined the Theater Arts Program’s pre-professional musical theater company.  Paloma’s consistent hard work, limitless desire to learn, and steady growth have made her a top student at the Conservatory.  She has exhibited an ever-ready willingness to help her peers in group work, as well as eagerly met all individual challenges during her time here.  We look forward to her continued development as she becomes a leading member of the musical theater company, now called MT Kids.

Nina Gale Olson
Director of External Affairs

New Latin American Music Choir

Latin American Music Choir
For Teens and Adults
Choir Director: Shadia Almasri

Auditions: September 20 & 27 at 7:00 pm

Dear Friends,

If you love to sing, can carry a tune, and love the musical repertoire of Latin America, then Harbor Conservatory’s new choir is the class for you.  Led by long time Conservatory faculty member Shadia Amasri, this choir for singers ages 16 years old and older will initially focus on the interpretation of Latin American Folkloric Music.  This includes genres like Joropo, Boleros, Tangos, Danzas, and Merengue and will feature lyrics by some of the leading poets of Latin America.

To schedule an audition, please call 212/427-2244 ext. 573. Harbor Conservatory is located at One East 104th Street in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue.

The choir meets on Mondays from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm and we are seeking a total of 24 choir members, featuring 6 singers per vocal range. That means 6 sopranos, 6 altos, 6 tenors and 6 bass or baritones. Previous vocal training is a plus but not a requirement, but a healthy voice with a clear tone is necessary.

Nina Gale Olson
Director of External Affairs

Dance and Theater Auditions

Dear Friends,

With registration underway, auditions for our Pre-Professional Programs in dance and theater are right around the corner. These programs develop teenage talent with a curriculum including individual lessons, a variety of technique classes and special ensembles, workshops and public performances.  In addition, the Harbor faculty of professional teaching artists provides students with one-on-one counseling, professional management and direction, advice about and preparations for auditions and competitions.

The goal of the Pre-Professional program is to prepare students for entry into specialized performing arts high schools and colleges and ultimately professional careers in the performing arts. Students in the Pre-Professional Program are all on partial scholarship. Program acceptance is based on audition. Auditions are held at our home site located on One East 104th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Audition Schedule

LEAP Dance Training Program: Friday, September, 17, 4:00 pm.  Calling all high school bound students, male and female, preparing for entry into dance programs of specialized high schools! Students ages 11 to 13 with at least three years of consistent dance training are interviewed, and audition to participate in this unique training program. To arrange an audition please call Nina Klyvert-Lawson at 212/427-2244 ext. 570, or Naomi Shimashita at extension 553.

GESTURES Dance Ensemble: Friday, October 1, 4:30 pm.  GESTURES, the pre-professional resident dance company of Harbor Conservatory is a performance workshop for students, ages 13 to 19.  Five years of technical training required in order to audition. Acceptance into the Gestures Dance Ensemble gives a serious dance student the opportunity to experience what it is like to be in a professional company. From challenging rehearsals to fully produced performances that are open to the public. This is an intense, accelerated program. Only those with strong commitment and desire to pursue rigorous dance training need apply. To arrange to audition please call Nina Klyvert-Lawson at 212/427-2244 ext. 570 or Naomi Shimashita at extension 553.

Theater Repertory Production: Saturday, September 25, 4:00 pm. Theater Repertory Production class is for students ages 12- 19 who have at least two years of formal theater training. There will be two full-scale end-of-semester Classical, Contemporary, or original productions, in which students will collectively analyze a script, create characters, and perform before a live audience! This class is meant for the serious-minded student who is interested in pursuing a career in the Theater. To arrange an audition please call Michael Awusie at 212/427-2244 ext. 558.

Musical Theater Kids: Friday, September 17, 4:30 pm. This intensive class for students ages 12 – 19 expands on the union of voice, dance, and theater to weave stories with the objective of preparing students for the demands and expectations of the professional world of Musical Theater. Students will be taught numerous dance numbers and vocal arrangements, all while putting scenes on their feet for an audience! To arrange an audition please call Michael Awusie at 212/427-2244 ext. 558.

Nina Gale Olson
Director of External Affairs

Director of Jazz Department to play Blue Note Jazz Club

Dear Friends,

Come join Gustavo Casenave, director of the Harbor Conservatory’s Jazz Department, and his trio this Sunday for an afternoon of Jazz and Tango at the world renowned Blue Note Jazz Club.  Brunch is served from 11:30 am until 4:00 pm, with showtimes at 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm. $24.50 includes brunch, the show and a drink.  For reservations please call 212/475-8592 or visit

To learn more about Gustavo, check out my interview with Mr. Casenave here.

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