Luis Alvarez ’83 Receives George Wein Impresario Award
At the Puerto Rico Heineken JazzFest in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 29, Luis Alvarez ’83 received Berklee’s George Wein Impresario Award during the festival’s 25th anniversary. The award recognizes individuals who bring music to life through their dedication to discovering, mentoring, presenting, and promoting creative musicians and their music. Alvarez is a former member of Berklee’s board of trustees and the current vice chair of the Berklee Valencia Advisory Board. He has been a vital link between Spanish and Latin American communities and Berklee.
Larry Simpson, senior vice president for academic affairs/provost, presented the award to Alvarez on the festival’s main stage. “Luis has brought together, on these stages, great musicians from all over the world—players that might not otherwise have shared a spotlight,” Simpson said. “Together with Berklee, he has also spearheaded an enduring education program here in San Juan. Nearly 3,000 students have gone through the program, studying under Berklee faculty, and several have built impressive careers as professionals.”
One of the students Simpson alluded to is saxophonist Miguel Zenón ’98, a critically hailed jazz artist and recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. “It would be hard for me to think of any other individual who has been more of a champion for jazz in Puerto Rico than Luis Alvarez,” Zenón noted. Jazz pianist Michel Camilo also offered laudatory words about Alvarez for making the Puerto Rico Heineken JazzFest “one of the top international jazz festivals.”
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Alvarez is an accomplished business leader. He earned a bachelor of business administration degree at the University of Notre Dame before earning his bachelor of music degree at Berklee in 1983. Alvarez has served since 1985 as vice president of Mendez & Company Inc., a major family-owned Puerto Rican food and beverage company. Under his leadership, Mendez & Company established the Puerto Rico Heineken JazzFest in 1990 with Alvarez producing the event.
Additionally, Alvarez is an FFA-certified airline transport pilot and fixed-wing and commercial pilot. He chairs the board of Cervezas del Sur, and chairs the board of the Historical Society of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico.