Hilario Duran - credit Fredy Velez

Hilario Luis Durán Torres

Cuban born Hilario Durán grew up in Havana in a musical family surrounded by a variety of diverse musical influences on a daily basis. He began working as a professional musician in Cuba’s Los Papa Cun­-Cun Ensemble and in a variety of musical formats. Later on, in the 70’s, Durán was Chucho Valdés’ chosen successor in Cuba’s most modern big band, Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna.

Hilario Durán toured worldwide and performed with Dizzy Gillespie and Michel Legrand, among many others, as part of Arturo Sandoval’s band where he was pianist/keyboardist, arranger and musical director for 9 years.

Chucho Valdés has acknowledged Hilario Durán as one of the greatest Cuban pianists of the 20th century, calling the Grammy-nominated and multi JUNO-award winner “an unparalleled pianist, composer and arranger of the first order”.

After making his mark in Cuba, Durán continued to hone his skills as a pianist, composer, arranger and musical director of remarkable virtuosity. Since arriving in Canada, Hilario has made a name for himself, he is a multi-Canadian Juno Award winner and nominee; an American Grammy nominee; a multi-Canadian National Jazz Award winner & nominee; and the proud recipient of the 2007 Chico O’Farrill Lifetime Achievement Award, from Latin Jazz USA, for his outstanding contributions to Afro-Cuban Jazz and Latin Jazz.

Cuban-Canadian jazz pianist Hilario Durán is a fixture on the Toronto music scene. Durán immigrated in 1998 to Canada and was named as One of the 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians in 2009. Hilario has been named Best Artist of the Year 2013 by the Toronto Musicians’ Association and also as 2014 Best Vision Award Winner (Premio a la Trayectoria) for his work as entrepreneur as a director of his musical company, ES MI MUSICA PRODUCTIONS. He is also an educator at Toronto’s Humber College, acting as a piano teacher and ensemble director.

Hilario Durán has been based in Toronto for the past two decades, but his musical heart and soul have remained closely connected to the land of his birth. He has continued to collaborate with Cuban musicians, but he takes this to another level on Contumbao.  In November 2016, Alma Records’ Peter Cardinali and award-winning engineer John ‘Beetle’ Bailey accompanied Durán to Havana, and the team set up shop in Cuba’s famed EGREM recording studio, the most storied such facility on the island. The cast of musical heavyweights assembled in Havana work their magic on 11 new Durán original compositions. Hilario’s mission is certainly fulfilled here, as Contumbao has an impressive dynamic range of different tempos, tones and moods.


Hilario Duran - Awards


  • Musician of the Year – Toronto Musicians’ Association 2013
  • Vision Award – Premio a la Trayectoria 2013
  • One of the 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians 2009.
  • World Group Artist of the Year 2008. Hilario Durán as Special Guest of Odessa/Havana.
  • Honoured with prestigious 2007 Chico O’Farrill lifetime achievement award in Miami for his outstanding contributions to Afro-Cuban jazz and Latin Jazz.
  • Latin Jazz Artist of the Year 2007: Canadian National Jazz Awards.
  • Big Band of the Year 2007. Canadian National Jazz Awards.
  • Latin Jazz Award of the Year 2006. Canadian National Jazz Awards.
  • Canadian JUNO winner 2006. “From the Heart”. Hilario Durán and his Latin Jazz Big Band for “Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year”.
  • Canadian JUNO Winner 2005: “New Danzon” Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year.
  • Excellence in Music. Eleventh Annual Canadian Big Big Band Celebration. Hilario Durán and his Latin Jazz Big Band.
  • Premio EGREM for Best Arranger of the Year 1982-83—one of Cuba’s most prestigious music prizes.


  • 2018 Louis Applebaum Composers Award by Ontario Arts Foundation
  • JUNO Award 2018 nomination for the Hilario Durán album “Contumbao” (Alma/Universal Records). Jazz Album of the Year: Solo.
  • Two JUNO Award 2010 nominations for the Hilario Durán Trio album “Motion” (Alma/Universal Records). Best Contemporary Jazz album of the Year and Recording Engineer of the Year (John “Beetle” Bailey).
  • “Motion” Named #1 Latin Jazz Best Recording of 2010 by Latin Jazz Network.
  • Eight nominations by the National Jazz Awards: Keyboardist, Pianist, Instrumentalist, Arranger, SOCAN Composer, Big Band, Jazz Album.
  • Latin Jazz Artist of the Year 2007. Canadian National Jazz Awards.
  • Grammy nomination in 2007 for Best Solo “Paq Man” on Hilario Durán and his Latin Jazz Big Band album, “From The Heart”, (Alma/Universal Records) featuring Paquito D’Rivera and Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez.
  • JUNO Award 2006 nomination for the Hilario Durán & Perspectiva album “Encuentro en La Habana” (Alma/Universal Records). Best Contemporary Jazz album of the Year.
  • Six nominations by the National Jazz award 2006: Musician of the Year, Pianist of the Year, Acoustic Group, Big Band of the Year, Arranger of the Year, Latin Jazz Artist of the Year 2006.
  • Hilario Durán & Havana Remembered: Best Global Album 2002.

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