Born in Santiago de Cuba, and resident of Brooklyn – pianist, violist, and composer, Aruán, has been an active figure in the progressive jazz and avant-garde scene in the US for more than 15 years.
Named “one of the most creative and original composers in the world” (Lynn René Bayley, The Art Music Lounge), he has written music for jazz ensembles, orchestras, dance companies, chamber groups, and feature films, incorporating influences from contemporary classical music, Cuban Haitian rhythms, and avant-garde improvisation. Aruán consistently strives to break stylistic musical boundaries.
Since his arrival in the United States, Aruán has played, toured, or recorded with jazz luminaries such as Wadada Leo Smith, Don Byron, Greg Osby, Wallace Roney, Nicole Mitchell, Cameron Brown, Michael Formanek, William Parker, Adam Rudolph, Andrew Cyrille, Henry Grimes, Marshall Allen, Hamiet Bluiett, Oliver Lake, Rufus Reid, Graham Haynes, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Nasheet Waits. He has also collaborated with choreographers José Mateo, Danis Mora, and Milena Zullo; filmmakers Ben Chace, Mariona Lloreta, and Mónica Rovira; poets Abiodun Oyewole from The Last Poets; writer/poet/filmmaker Mtume Gant; DJ Logic and Val Jeanty Inc.; and renowned German writers Angelika Hentschel and Anna Breitenbach.
Aruán has received numerous accolades including the Composer Fellowship Award at Vermont College of Fine Arts (2016); the Doris Duke Impact Award (2014); the Composers Now Creative Residency at Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (2014); the Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grant (2013); Latin Jazz Corner’s Arranger of the Year (2011) for his contribution on the album, “El Cumbanchero” by flutist Mark Weinstein (Jazzheads, 2011); Fundación Autor, SGAE, and Generalitat de Catalunya study grants (2002); Semifinalist, Jas Hennessy Piano Solo Competition, Montreux, Switzerland (2001); and Best Jazz Interpretation, Festival de Jazz in Vic, Spain (2000).
He also performed on Grammy Award winning singer/bassist Esperanza Spalding’s trio debut album, "Junjo" (Ayva Música, 2006). All About Jazz said, “The trio has…splendid flashes of precision from pianist Aruán Ortiz who is excellent throughout.”