Orlando Cotto

Educator, Independent

Orlando Cotto first learned to play congas when he was just five years old. Since that time he has developed a successful career as a marimbist and percussionist. Orlando was awarded the Pro Arte Ferdman Grant as the most outstanding student while completing his bachelor's degree in percussion performance at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. While pursuing graduate work at Indiana University, Orlando was given the honor as a Distinguished Cayeyano from the mayor of Cayey, Puerto Rico, for his outstanding achievement in music. He graduated as the first marimbist to receive the Artist Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and he appeared with the Peabody Symphony Orchestra as the Winner of the Yale Gordon Concerto Competition.

According to the San Juan Star, Orlando is "an artist of musical sensitivity and accomplished technique", and Latin Beat magazine calls Orlando’s "solid conga drumming . . . a percussive pillar." Orlando has collaborated with music legends of this generation including Andy Gonzalez, Giovanni Hidalgo, and Edwin Colón Zayas. His solo marimba recordings, Caribeños - Latin American Music for the Marimba and A Little Prayer released in January 2002, have received critical and popular acclaim.

Orlando has appeared at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, numerous colleges and universities, many international percussion festivals, and Days of Percussion throughout the United States. He has also traveled in Central and South American performing recitals and conducting workshops. He is a performing artist and is a faculty member at Northern Illinois University.

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Orlando Cotto Percussion Solo