College Faculty: Classical Strings: Violin
“Gavilan has the touch of a poet” – Santa Monica Magazine
Cuban-American Violinist Ilmar Gavilan, a native of Havana, Cuba has had a remarkable performing career that has taken him all over the world. This fascinating journey ranges from performing for world leaders such as President Obama at the White House and Queen Sofia of Spain at The Royal Palace of Madrid to performing with top stature artists of diverse styles such as Itzhak Perlman and Chick Corea.
As a soloist, Mr. Gavilan has performed violin concertos with the Atlanta, New Jersey, Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Hartford, Nashville, Ann Arbor, Santa Monica, Phoenix, Denver, Louisiana, Anchorage, Santa Fe, Havana, Mexico City, and Venezuela Symphonies and played recitals in England, Russia, Spain, and Portugal. Mr. Gavilan performed “Urban Legends” by Michael Ables for String Quartet and Orchestra with the New York Philharmonic as the first violinist of the Harlem Quartet. Mr. Gavilan won first prize at the Sphinx competition, as well as top honors at the Lipinsky-Wieniaswsky and the Henryk Szeryng International violin competitions.
An avid chamber musician, Mr. Gavilan has performed with Itzhak Perlman, Arnold Steinhardt, Ida Kavafian, Carter Brey, Paul Katz, Fred Sherry, Anthony McGill, and Misha Dicter. Mr. Gavilan has participated in numerous chamber music festivals including Tanglewood, Ravinia, and Angel Fire.
Currently a violin faculty at Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Gavilan is engaged in a visiting residency at The Royal College of Music in London as the first violinist of the Harlem Quartet and a full-time residency position at Montclair State University. Mr. Gavilan is an experienced educator, having taught for six years at Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program. Ilmar Gavilan studied at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. Through the personal recommendation and royal scholarship of Queen Sofia of Spain, studies took him to the Reina Sofia School of Music in Spain where he studied with Zakhar Bron. In addition, Mr. Gavilan received private lessons from legendary Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern and Ruggiero Ricci. Later studies brought Mr. Gavilan to the Manhattan School of Music in New York City where he studied with Glenn Dicterow and received his Master’s Degree.
Mr. Gavilan was awarded a Graduate Diploma in Quartet Performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston. His mentors there included Donald Weilerstein and Miriam Fried. Mr. Gavilan completed his Doctor in Musical Arts Diploma from Rutgers University under the mentorship of Arnold Steinhardt. Alongside his accomplished classical music career, Mr. Gavilan also performed and commercially released albums with Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Paquito D’Rivera, Eddie Palmieri, and Dafnis Prieto. Other Jazz collaborations include performing with Stanley Clark, John Patitucci, Lee Konitz, Henry Threadgill, and Doc Severinsen. The collaboration with Jazz legends Chick Corea and Gary Burton rendered earned him a Grammy for the recording of the Hot House album as a member of the Harlem Quartet. Mr. Gavilan’s U.S. Solo recording debut Aires y Leyendas, and Por el mar featuring music composed by his father Guido Lopez-Gavilan including a violin concerto dedicated to him, are available on Amazon and iTunes.
His latest solo album Brothers features his brother Aldo Lopez-Gavilan. Ilmar and his brother Aldo, a world-class pianist and composer, were presented by Carnegie Hall in the featured PBS documentary Los Hermanos/The Brothers