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  • Orlando Cotto, Adjunct Instructor, Percussion

    Adjunct Instructor, Percussion
    University of Delaware
    Amy E. du Pont Music Building
    Newark, DE 19716


    ​​As a student, Orlando Cotto had the dual distinction of being the first marimbist to receive the Artist Diploma from the Peabody Institute and to win the Yale Gordon Concerto Competition. He was also recognized as the most outstanding student while studying at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. Mr. Cotto was raised in the traditions of Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican music, and he learned to play hand drums when he was just five years old. He has developed a successful career as a marimbist and percussionist and is an instructor in percussion for the Department of Music.

    As a solo marimbist, Mr. Cotto unites his solid classical training and Latin American background to create a powerful combination of rhythm and music previously uncharted in the marimba world. He regularly performs at international festivals, including the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, and conducts workshops and master classes in colleges and universities throughout the United States. He has also been invited to perform in Asia, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and Central America. According to the San Juan Star, Mr. Cotto is "an artist of musical sensitivity and accomplished technique."

    A sought-after performing and recording artist, Mr. Cotto has collaborated with music legends of this generation, including Darin Atwater, Andy Gonzalez, Giovanni Hidalgo and Edwin Colón Zayas. Latin Beat magazine calls Mr. Cotto’s “solid conga drumming . . . a percussive pillar.” He has been the conguero of Panoramic, a fusion band lead by pan virtuoso Liam Teague, and was the lead conguero of Rumba Club, one of the East Coast's popular Latin jazz ensembles. These collaborations have led to performances at major venues in the United States including the Telluride Jazz Celebration in Colorado; the Blue Room in Kansas City; Blue Note and Birdland in New York City; and Blues Ally and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

    His first solo marimba recording Caribeños – Latin American Music for the Marimba received critical and popular acclaim. Percussive Notes praised it: “The immediacy and vitality of the music on [Caribeños] impresses the listener from the very first selection.” His subsequent recording, A Little Prayer, paid tribute to his classical training, and Wild Hands demonstrated an amalgamation of his creativity, classical training and Latin roots. Mr. Cotto’s newest CD, Landmark — Afro-Cuban Music for the Marimba, was released in the spring of 2010 and features artist Michael Spiro. Mr. Cotto is a performing artist endorsed by Yamaha, ProMark, Sabian and Latin Percussion.



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  • Department of Music
  • Amy E. du Pont Music Building
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-2578