Gaita, piano, composer (Spain) Cristina Pato has already opened historical new paths for the gaita. In 1998, Cristina Pato became the first female gaita player to release a solo album, and since then she has collaborated with world music, jazz, classical and experimental artists (including the Chicago Symphony, Yo-Yo Ma, The Chieftains, Arturo O'Farril, World Symphony Orchestra, and Paquito D'Rivera).
Ms. Pato's unique and powerful style, full of passion and energy, has been acclaimed by the New York Times as “a virtuosic burst of energy"; the BBC has called her “the Galician bagpipe diva.” Ms. Pato fuses the influences of Latin music, jazz, pop and contemporary music, and uses her artistry and unprecedented virtuosic skill to bring her musical vision to life. Ms. Pato is a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble.
Internationally acclaimed as a gaita master and classical pianist, Cristina Pato enjoys an active professional career devoted to both Galician popular and classical music. Her dual careers have led to performances on major stages throughout the world, including in the U.S. (Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center), India (Kamani Auditorium), Jerusalem (Jerusalem Festival), Angola, China, Korea, Portugal (Festa do Avante), Brazil (Liszt Festival), U.K. (Celtic Connections), France, Italy (Etnofestival), Germany, Mexico (Palacio de Bellas Artes), and her native Spain.
An active recording artist and performer since age 12, Ms. Pato has released four solo gaita recordings and two as a pianist. She has also collaborated on more than 30 recordings as a guest artist, including the Grammy Award winner Yo-Yo Ma and Friends: Songs of Joy and Peace (SONY BMG 2008)>; Miles Español: New Sketches of Spain (Entertainment One Music, 2011); and the Grammy-nominated Silk Road Ensemble album, Off the Map (World Village, 2010).
Ms. Pato has given more than 600 concerts with her own band, many of them recorded and broadcast by television stations such as BBC, TVG, CNN and RTVE. She has been praised by newspapers such as the New York Times, El Pais, La Voz de Galicia, and the Scotsman.
Ms. Pato holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University (New Jersey, U.S.), where she studied with a fellowship from Fundacion Barrie de la Maza. She was awarded the Edna Mason Scholarship and the Irene Alm Memorial Prize for excellence in scholarly research and performance (Rutgers University, May 2008). Ms. Pato holds degrees in Piano Performance, Music Theory and Chamber Music (with honors) from the Conservatorio de Musica del Liceu (Barcelona). She also holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Digital Arts (Computer Music) from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona).
Cristina Pato is a member of the Silk Road Ensemble Leadership Council, collaborating closely on programming at Harvard University, where the Ensemble is in residence. She has served as a panelist, mentor and faculty member in various projects the Silk Road Ensemble is developing with the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, including a Deans' Cultural Entrepreneurship Challenge and The Arts and Passion-Driven Learning summer institute for artists and educators.
During the 2011-2013 seasons, Cristina Pato toured Africa and Spain with her own band; the U.S., China and Korea with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, and India with Sandeep Das' HUM Ensemble. She collaborated on the album Miles Español and participated with the Silk Road Ensemble, John Williams, and James Taylor in the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors gala honoring Yo-Yo Ma.
As a panelist, Ms. Pato has given lectures and workshops and participated on panels at the WWW conference (with will.i.am, Yo-Yo Ma and Damian Woetzel), Chicago Civic Orchestra, University of Texas at Austin, Princeton University and other U.S. institutions. She also collaborates with the Vail International Dance Festival, The Aspen Institute and the Turnaround Arts educational activities of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
Ms. Pato is the founder and artistic director of Galician Connection, a world music forum celebrated annually at Cidade da Cultura de Galicia.