Berklee Summer Concert SeriesRay Gonzalez
Ray González is a musician dedicated mind, body, and soul to the creation of salsa and Latin jazz. González has over 35 years of experience in the performing arts as a professional musician, arranger, composer, and conductor.
A renowned musician and Latin music pioneer in Connecticut, he was born in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. He attended the Conservatory of Music and the University of Puerto Rico. The Caribbean, South America, and the United States have all been his laboratory of experience. González has played and recorded with international musicians such as Tito Puente, Charlie Palmieri, Kako, Giovanni Hidalgo, Charlie Sepúlveda, Ismael Rivera, Ray de La Paz, the Puerto Rican Power Orchestra, and many others. In November 2006, González presented his latest salsa CD production, Yo Tengo Lo Que Te Gusta. The production was warmly received by the public and the music critics and was pre-nominated for a Latin Grammy.
Over the years González has held the position of music director at numerous institutions, including the University of Turabo, the Hartford Arts Festival, and the International Latin American Voice and Song Festival. González is music director of Guakia, Inc. and founder of Guakibomjazz, a Latin jazz youth orchestra.
González has been commissioned to compose music for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed in collaboration with the symphonies for many projects, such as Music of the Americas, Serenata Latina, Fiesta Latina, and others. He has received special honors, awards, and recognitions from many political institutions and community entities, including Connecticut's former Governor William O'Neill, Southern Connecticut State University, the Hispanic Health Council, the University of Connecticut, the Hispanic Professional Network, and Mi Casa, among others. Hartford mayor Eddie Pérez and the Court of Common Council proclaimed May 2, 2004 as Ray González Day in the City of Hartford. The Connecticut State Senate and the House of Representatives also issued an official citation in recognition of González for his contribution to Latin Music and his dedication to youth education.
In 2007, Guakía, Inc. created the Ray González Latin Jazz and Salsa Festival, an annual event to honor the pioneering work of Ray González in Connecticut. Hartford mayor Eddie Pérez officiated the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The festival's mission is to heal with music the soul of the community and nourish its yearning for music of excellence. The festival features some of the most talented international artists in Latin jazz and salsa, such as Luis Marín, Paoli Mejías, Jerry Medina, Charlie Sepúlveda, Miguel "Meñique" Barcasnegras, and Edwin Clemente. It is a call to jazz and salsa lovers of all nationalities.
The Ray Gonzalez concert is hosted by Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA).