Mario Ortiz, B.M. ‘93, M.M. ‘95, has been nominated for a Latin Grammy in the category of “Best Salsa Album of the Year.” The album, “Mario Ortiz All Star Band Tributo 45 Aniversario,” distributed by Sony is a tribute to his late father, Mario Ortiz, a revered bandleader and arranger in Puerto Rico. The album features many of today’s salsa mega artists including Gilberto Santa Rosa, Cheo Feliciano, Andy Montanez, Ismael Miranda, Bobby Cruz, and Richie Ray. The featured song on this album, “Chinita,” features Gilberto Santa Rosa and was ranked in the top 20 songs in Billboard for 23 weeks in Puerto Rico. In addition to his performance achievements, Mario Ortiz is a national certified music teacher for Miami-Dade County Public Schools and is a music teacher at Ben Sheppard Elementary and Ernest Graham Elementary in Hialeah, Florida.
While a student at the University of Miami, Mario Ortiz did summer world tours with Juan Luis Guerra. He also toured with Gilberto SantaRosa, Willy Chirino, Ilan Chester, Angela Carrasco, Donato y Estefano, Tito Nieves, and Tito Rojas, and performed with Ruben Blades, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Olga Tañon, Roció Durcal, Juan Gabriel, Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summers and Rafael. He has also recorded with Willy Chirino, Chayanne, and Rafael in conjunction with Arturo Sandoval.
Mario still accompanies and records extensively in his spare time. He is the musical director for Ismael Miranda, a legendary Fania artist, and Jerry Rivera. He has directed the band for Ray Barreto at the fourth Fiestas Patronales de Puerto Rico, a major event that is celebrated in Florida annually, and also for Andy Montanez. He received his degrees in studio music and jazz at the Frost School of Music.
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