Eddie Palmieri to be Honored as Chubb Fellow

Famed salsa musician Eddie Palmieri will visit Yale University as a Chubb Fellow, with a performance scheduled for April 22 at 8:30 p.m. in Woolsey Hall and an April 23 symposium to be held at 4:00 p.m. in the Yale University Art Gallery’s McNeil Auditorium.

The Chubb Fellowship is honoring Palmieri for his contributions to Latino culture and music. Palmieri is a seven-time Grammy award winner and one of the most prolific and popular Latin musicians in the world.

Born in Spanish Harlem, New York, in 1936, Palmieri began piano studies at an early age, along with his older brother, the famed salsa pianist Charlie Palmieri. At age 11, he made his classical debut at Carnegie Hall.

In the late ’50s, Palmieri joined the Tito Rodriguez Orchestra where he spent one year before forming his own legendary group, “Conjunto La Perfecta,” in 1961. “La Perfecta” featured a trombone section, led by the late Barry Rogers, instead of trumpets, which was rare in Latin music and became a Palmieri-led signature in salsa. Palmieri’s band was soon competing with the big three orchestras of the time: Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez.

Commenting on his close connection with Afro-Cuban roots, Palmieri has said: “In Cuba, there was a development and crystallization of rhythmical patterns that have excited people for years. Cuban music provides the fundament. Whatever has to be built must be built from there.”

Palmieri’s musical career spans more than four decades as the leader of salsa. His discography includes 32 titles. In 1988, the Smithsonian Institution recorded and documented two of Palmieri’s performances for their catalog of the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

In 1998 Palmieri received an honorary doctorate degree from the Berklee College of Music. He was commissioned to compose a suite for the Ballet Hispanico of New York in 1999.

Palmieri has won seven Grammies, including the first ever given to a Latin artist in 1975 for the Best Latin Album, “The Sun of Latin Music,” and in the following year for “Unfinished Masterpiece.” “Palo Pa’ Rumba” won in 1984, followed by “Solito” in 1985, “La Verdad” in 1987 and “Masterpiece” in 2000. His newest CD, “La Perfecta II,” will be released in April.

The Chubb Fellowship is devoted to encouraging and aiding Yale students interested in the operations of government, culture and public service. Established in 1936 through the generosity of Hendon Chubb (Yale 1895), the program is based in Timothy Dwight College. Each year three or four distinguished men and women have been appointed as Visiting Chubb Fellows. Chubb Fellows spend their time at Yale in close, informal contact with students, and deliver a public lecture. Among former Chubb Fellows have been Presidents George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter; authors Octavio Paz and Toni Morrison; former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and journalist Walter Cronkite.

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