David Virelles

David Virelles

Born and raised in Cuba, David Virelles grew up in a musical family, his father being a singer-songwriter and his mother a flautist in the Santiago de Cuba Symphony. He started studying classical music at age seven, as well as being exposed to the large array of musical forms on the island. Eventually, David discovered his grandfather’s Jazz collection and also became interested in that tradition.

In 2001, he left for Canada as a protégé of Canadian musician Jane Bunnett, with whom he recorded several albums (two of them Grammy nominated), toured and collaborated with on a number of projects.

While in Canada, David graduated from the music program at Humber College. He studied privately with pianist Barry Harris and has also studied composition with the influential composer Henry Threadgill, which had a really deep impact in Virelles’s personal musical outlook.

Over the years he has performed and/or recorded with: Steve Coleman and Five Elements, Henry Threadgill, Dewey Redman, Sam Rivers, Andrew Cyrille, , Hermeto Pascoal, José Luis Quintana “Changuito”, Stanley Cowell, Rudresh Mahantappa, Horacio “El Negro” Hernández, Mark Turner, Paul Motian, Ben Street, Chris Potter, David Binney, Ravi Coltrane, Adam Rogers, Jeff Ballard, Jane Bunnet and “Spirits of Havana”, Miguel Zenón, Cuban visual artist Alberto Lescay, Howard Johnson, Dan Weiss, Adam Cruz Milestone Group, Jon Hendricks, Wadada Leo Smith, among others.

His debut album Motion was released in 2007 on the label Justin Time, after winning the Grand Prix de Jazz Award at the Montréal Jazz Festival. In 2003 he became the first recipient of the Oscar Peterson prize, presented by Peterson himself.

David continues to develop his musical concepts via the group Continuum, a collaborative effort by Virelles, bassist Ben Street, legendary drummer Andrew Cyrille and percussionist Román Díaz. He is also increasingly in demand in the New York music scene as a sideman, having performed with Steve Coleman’s Reflex Trio and Five Elements, Mark Turner, David Binney, Ravi Coltrane, Henry Threadgill, Chris Potter, among others.