Jazz pianist and composer to perform at inaugural Koerner Speaker Series

Costa Rica’s Minister of Culture and Youth Manuel Obregón, a renowned jazz pianist and composer, will perform and talk about the relationship between culture and conservation in Costa Rica at the inaugural Koerner Speaker Series in Neotropical Conservation, in association with the Las Nubes Project.

This special concert, lecture and conversation with Obregón will take place Tuesday, April 2, from 3:30 to 6:30pm, in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall, 120 Accolade East Building, main floor, Keele campus. A reception with light refreshments will follow the performance. Everyone is welcome to attend this free event. To RSVP, click here and enter event code: 796.

Obregón has recorded more than 20 solo albums, including Piano Malango, Wade in the Water and Manuel Obregón and Papaya Orchestra, and has guest-performed and produced on many others. He has composed straight jazz pieces for theatre and dance, and works that integrate the sounds of nature with his piano. Over the last decade, his creative work has increasingly focused on the relationship of music to the natural environment. In 2004, the DVD Simbiosis was created which places Obregón and his piano in the midst of the Costa Rican rainforest, where frogs, howler monkeys and songbirds become part of the soundtrack.

In 2002, he gathered 14 musicians from the seven Central American countries to create Orquesta de la Papaya, a collection of 14 live recordings released by Sony Music. The following year, the initiative was expanded to create the company Papaya Music to join together musical artists, technicians and producers to record, produce and distribute the music of Central America. The music bridges ManuelObregonatPianocultural and stylistic gaps to create a vibrant synthesis of contemporary and folk music.

Manuel Obregón

Obregón received a 2000 music critic award for best concert of the year in New Orleans and was declared an International Honorary Citizen of the city. He has also received several awards from the Costa Rican Association of Composers and Musical Authors, including one for instrumental music for Piano Malango in 2010. He also received an award for best original music for his composition of the soundtrack for the film Password, una Mirada en la oscuridad (Password, a look into the dark).

The Koerner Speaker Series in Neotropical Conservation will run annually for three years to help promote and raise awareness of the Las Nubes Project in Costa Rica. Las Nubes, meaning “the clouds”, is a rainforest donated to York University by Dr. Woody Fisher, a Felipeprominent Toronto doctor.

Felipe Montoya-Greenheck (right), director of the Las Nubes Project and chair in Neotropical Conservation in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, will talk about the Las Nubes Project and its community engagement activities in environmental conservation in Costa Rica.

This Koerner lecture in Neotropical Conservation is sponsored by the Koerner Foundation, the Faculty of Environmental Studies, the Faculty of Fine Arts and York International.