Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation Awards Juan Luis Guerra Scholarship to Colombian Pianist

May 11, 2016
Press release
Jesús Molina-Acosta and Juan Luis Guerra at Berklee celebrating the occasion of Acosta's award
Photo by Paul Moratta

The Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation awarded the Juan Luis Guerra Scholarship to Jesús Molina-Acosta, a 19-year-old pianist from Colombia, during a special presentation at Berklee. Molina-Acosta was one of six finalists chosen by the Latin Grammy Foundation's Scholarship Committee, which evaluated a highly competitive pool of applicants. Molina-Acosta was chosen by Guerra to receive the scholarship with a maximum value of $200,000, which will allow him to further his music education at Berklee.

“The Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation is honored to be able to help nurture the education of Jesús Molina-Acosta, a uniquely gifted and passionate pianist,” said Manolo Díaz, vice president of the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation. “Our ultimate goal is to provide economic support to exceptional Latin music students with financial needs, and our partnership with Juan Luis Guerra and Berklee College of Music is essential to our success in meeting that goal.”

“I want to congratulate the six finalists and especially the winner of the scholarship, Jesús Molina-Acosta. We applaud and admire his dedication, work, and talent. We look forward to continuing to fund scholarships that benefit Latin music students,” said Guerra.

"I can think of no better pairing to inspire the future leaders of the Latin music industry and beyond than the Juan Luis Guerra Scholarship Award, presented by the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation," said Berklee President Roger H. Brown. "We are deeply appreciative of our partnership with the foundation, which strengthens the college's ties to Latin culture and music, and for their generosity, which provides an opportunity for deserving students from Latin America to pursue their dreams at Berklee.”

Molina-Acosta is set to begin his studies in fall of 2016. He will be awarded a maximum of $50,000 in annual tuition assistance over four years from the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation to finance his music education at Berklee. In order to qualify for continued annual assistance, Molina-Acosta must honor and maintain standards of excellence set forth by the foundation and the music institution, as well as maintain a GPA of 3.5, which will be assessed each year of his studies. The scholarship will allow Molina-Acosta to pursue an education at Berklee he otherwise could not afford.

The Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation was established by The Latin Recording Academy to promote international awareness and appreciation of the significant contributions of Latin music and its makers to the world's culture, and to protect its rich musical legacy and heritage. The foundation's primary charitable focus is to provide scholarships to students of Latin music with financial needs, as well as grants to scholars and organizations worldwide for the research and preservation of the diverse Latin music genres.  

Juan Luis Guerra '82 is a musician, composer, producer, and songwriter from the Dominican Republic. Before he committed to music, Guerra studied philosophy and literature at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo. He then studied guitar and music theory at El Conservatorio Nacional de Música in Santo Domingo, beofre deciding to go to the United States to attend Berklee, where he studied jazz composition. In 2009 Guerra was awarded an honorary doctorate from the college. Guerra is one of the most internationally recognized Latin artists in recent decades. His popular style of merengue has garnered him considerable success around the world. He is also credited for popularizing bachata music on a global level and is often associated with the genre. An 18-time Latin Grammy and three-time Grammy winner, Guerra has recorded more than 15 albums and won numerous awards.

Watch Berklee students perform a Juan Luis Guerra tribute, with Guerra himself singing "Ojalá Que Llueva Café":