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The maestro Juan Vicente Torrealba will receive his Grammy at 97 years old

The maestro Juan Vicente Torrealba will receive his Grammy at 97 years old

Posted by Dubraswka Aguilar on November 15, 2014

Juan Vicente Torrealba prepares to travel to Las Vegas to receive a special award as part of the celebrations of the Latin Grammy: the Trustees Award.

At 97 years old, the most notable artist of Venezuela is the longest that the Latin Recording Academy has awarded.

"The Board of the Latin Recording Academy meets annually to discuss and vote many names that are on a special list ... and the name of Juan Vicente Torrealba was unanimously elected by the 'trustees' and members of executive committee, "said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., President of the Academy, in an email to the Associated Press. "The choice is made after weighing the contributions of the winners of the Latin American music, whether onstage or backstage, as for compositions, arrangements, or actions to help spread the music," he added.

In an interview from his home to the AP, in which he asked not to be recorded, Torrealba said he was honored by the recognition. He said that this award, along with an honorary doctorate awarded to him in September by the  Nacional Experimental Simon Rodriguez University, they have made him feel "resurrected" because, thanks to them, I have returned to ask for interviews and give a place in the public. He thinks the Venezuelan usually give more value to everything that comes from abroad, belittling the beauty of local talent.

Other distinctions

The maestro will receive the award on November 19th, prior to the Latin Grammy day, along with music industry executive and author André Midani. At the same ceremony, which will be held at the Hollywood Theatre at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, also will be recognized Willy Chirino, Cesar Costa, Carlos Do Carmo, the Dynamic Duo, Los Lobos, Valeria Lynch and Ney Matogrosso with the Musical Excellence Award.

In the panorama of world music, Torrealba has contributed over 100 musical productions and composed over 300 songs, many of which are recognized as popular hymns in several countries. "Concert in the plain", "The chestnut filly", "Alone with the Stars", "Symphony in palmar", "Country" and "Rosario" are just a sampling of his repertoire.


He is recognized as the creator and greatest diffuser of "stylized passage", a genre inspired by the typical burrowing passage provided with greater sophistication and complexity, with elements of world music. His group The Torrealberos is historically one of the most important and prestigious of traditional Venezuelan music.

More than art

His work has transcended the artistic work, also including cultural promotion, research and dissemination of Venezuelan tradition and its internationalization. He also devoted himself to the album production through the label he created, Banco Largo Records. After his retirement from the music scene in the early 90s, he dabbled in painting and photography.

He was named the cultural heritage of the universal music of the Government of the Department of Meta, Colombia. In Xalapa, Mexico there is a street, a square and a park named after him. In Paraguay, to complete the degree as harp performer is required to master the piece "Concert in the plain."

Born in Caracas on February 20, 1917, Torrealba considered Camaguán population in Guarico state, "his people". Most of his training was spent in the vicinity of that region, a cattle ranch called Banco Largo. He was a man of llaneras tasks, used to the solitude and vastness of the region.

"I slept with the sound of the harp," he remembered in the interview. "In the herd there was a pawn playing and always partying."

His legacy can be felt in countless tunes that are played today in Venezuela and other Latin American countries.

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