This performance is underwritten in part by a generous donation from Michele and Richard Cabrera
Born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, Néstor Torres, whose father was a pianist-vibraphonist, began on drum set at age five and later, saxophone. However, by 12 he developed a passion for flute. His early hero was Hubert Laws and quite naturally, the classical flute icons, Jean Pierre Rampal and his “man with the golden flute” successor, James Galway. Early on, his influences also included Cuban legend Richard Egües, and jazz great Herbie Mann. He also found inspiration in the music of Dave Brubeck, Tito Puente, and Cal Tjader.
His playing always incorporated a smorgasbord of Latin jazz, pop, straight-ahead jazz, and classical styles. After high school, the family moved to New York with dreams of finding work with the profusion of Latin jazz bands. He honed his classical skills afforded by higher education obtained at the New School in New York and then jazz flute at the New England Conservatory, ultimately graduating from Berklee College of Music. He migrated back to New York and paid his dues gaining experience in the professional arena, including appearances with Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri.
He moved to Miami, where he was immediately accepted into the city’s vibrant salsa and jazz scene, performing regularly at festivals and clubs in South Florida. His passion for music education led to an FIU faculty position and honorary doctorate degrees from Barry University (Miami) and Carlos Albizu University (San Juan, Puerto Rico and Miami).
In 1990, at age 34, Néstor suffered potentially career-ending injuries in a devastating boating accident. The long, arduous recovery changed him spiritually and he was most fortunate to regain his health and the physical skills required for his chosen profession.
Torres’s music is an exotic mix of styles that takes the listener through a thoroughly unique approach to American, Brazilian, and Afro-Cuban jazz. His work has been recognized by a Grammy® nomination, four Latin Grammy nominations, and a Latin Grammy Award.