Three Palmieri Scholarships Awarded!

Dear Friends,

To pay tribute to piano master Charlie Palmieri and to honor his memory, the 20th Annual competition for the Charlie Palmieri Memorial Piano Scholarship established by Tito Puente was held on Saturday, March 6th, 2010.  From a total of eight applicants, the Jury selected the following three young contestants: Tony Suero, Brian Olivo and Kevin Rentas, all of whom will receive half-scholarships to study Latin style piano at the Harbor Conservatory for a full year. The Jurors in this year’s competition were Sonny Bravo, Pablo Mayor and Gustavo Casenave, who reached a unanimous decision.


Tony Suero, age 19, a self taught musician, has been formally studying music at the Harbor Conservatory since 2007, with Pablo Mayor, Gustavo Schartz, and Gustavo Casenave. He is a three time Palmieri Scholarship recipient, who  enjoys the artistry of musicians like Pappo Luca, Sergio George, Michel Camilo and Gustavo Casenave because of their diversity in styles and creativity.  Tony’s goal is to become a composer, arranger, and to create his own musical institution in order to help others. He was given highest scores for his understanding and performance of the Latin style.

Brian Olivo, age 18, has been a student of Mohsan Rasool. He admires musicians such as Michel Camilo, Sergio George, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. When asked about his goals, Brian stated: “Music is my passion and I want to be the best that I can be. I want to learn to compose and arrange, and become a music producer.” Brian was given high scores for his understanding and performance of the Latin style.

Kevin Rentas, age 15, has studied piano at the Bloomingdale House of Music as well as at the Harbor Conservatory, under the direction of Pablo Mayor. He received highest scores in his preparation for the Competition. As part of the prize, Kevin will continue working with Mr. Mayor as a scholarship student.

Over the course of its 20 year history, a host of talented young pianists have received the invaluable support provided by the Palmieri scholarship enabling them to pursue in-depth training and preparing many of them for entry into leading conservatories such as the Berklee School of Music, and the Jazz Program at the New School.  The Conservatory is proud that the majority of Palmieri recipients are currently active professional musicians who represent the legacy of the great Charlie Palmieri and the generosity and vision of the King of Latin Music, El Rey Tito Puente.

Previous recipients include: Danny Kader, Yecenia Gaitan, Dominick Agostini, Migdio Dominguez, Crystal Triay, Victoria Hoyos, Richy Rojas, Christopher Holder, Zacai Curtis, Luis Irizarry, Ruben Flamenco, Yeisson Villamar, Dennis Guevara, Mauri Frosio, Silvio Delis, Harold Gutierrez, Luis Gomez, Jr., Miguel Vargas, Matthias Bublath, David Santiago, Luis Fernandez, Angel Echevarria,
Roy Assaf, and Christian Sands.

Nina Gale Olson
Director of External Affairs


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