Cristina Pato is a Galician bagpiper (gaita), a classical pianist, a writer and a passionate educator. Hailed as “a virtuosic burst of energy” by The New York Times, her professional life is devoted to teaching and performance that explores the role of the arts and sciences in society. Full bio
In 1999, 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 Chicago Symphony, Yo-Yo Ma, Arturo O’Farrill, New York Philharmonic, Paquito D’Rivera, Damian Woetzel and Lil’ Buck). Cristina’s unique and powerful style, has been acclaimed by The New York Times as “a virtuosic burst of energy“; The Wall Street Journal has called her “one of the living masters of the gaita.” Cristina fused the influences of Latin music, jazz, pop and contemporary music to bring her musical vision to life.
Cristina has published six gaita recordings and two as a pianist. She has also collaborated on more than 40 recordings as a guest artist, including the Grammy Award winner Yo-Yo Ma and Friends: Songs of Joy and Peace (SONY BMG 2008) and the jazz album Miles Español: New Sketches of Spain (Entertainment One Music, 2011). Cristina is an active producer, curator and artistic director of multidisciplinary events (including her own festival Galician Connection). As performer, she is the leader of the Cristina Pato QUARTET (USA), the Cristina Pato GALICIAN TRIO (Europe), and the co-creator of the Invisible(s) Project alongside composer and violinist Mazz Swift.
Cristina holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Rutgers University, degrees in piano, music theory, and chamber music from the Conservatorio de Musica del Liceu, and a Master of Digital Arts from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
In 2012 Cristina wrote “My Lethe Story: The River of Forgetfulness,” a storytelling- chamber music piece commissioned by Silkroad and premiered at Harvard University. The piece combines Cristina’s passion for neuroscience and the personal story of her mother’s memory loss. With this piece she started to develop a new path of understanding the power of combining arts and sciences in academic institutions. In 2016 she began an on-going collaboration with the University of California, Santa Barbara with her pilot class: “Memory: An Interdisciplinary Exploration” co-created and co-taught by Cristina Pato, Prof. Ken Kosik (Neuroscience), Prof. Kim Yasuda (Spatial Art) and Prof. Mary Hancock (Anthropology). In 2017 she served as Blodgett Distinguished Artist in Residence at Harvard University (Department of Music) and in 2019 she was appointed Chair of Spanish Culture and Civilization at the King Juan Carlos I Center at New York University.
Invisible(s) is a new and exciting project by Cristina Pato in collaboration with violinist and composer Mazz Swift. Invisible(s) features an amazing combination of stories and music, with compositions by Cristina and Mazz and four new pieces by Michi Wiancko, Alisa Rose, Dana Lyn and Octavio Vázquez, commissioned by Cristina specifically for this project.
Cristina Pato QUARTET (USA)
The Cristina Pato Quartet is a unique blend of jazz, latin-jazz and world music with New York based musicians, composers and arrangers Edward Perez (bass), Julien Labro (accordion) and Mauricio Zottarelli/Juan Felipe Mayorga (drums).
Cristina Pato Trío Galego
Cristina’s Galician Trio explores the connections between Galician music, jazz and contemporary music through the experience of the versatile Galician musicians and arrangers Roberto Comesaña (accordion) and Miguel Cabana (percussion). A fascinating format that celebrates the diversity of 21st century Galician music.
Yo-Yo Ma conceived Silkroad in 1998 as a reminder that even as rapid globalization resulted in division, it brought extraordinary possibilities for working together. He brought together musicians from the lands of the Silk Road to co-create a new artistic idiom, a musical language founded in difference, a metaphor for the benefits of a more connected world.
Cristina serves as Learning Advisor, teacher and artist for Silkroad since 2006.
Cristina is constantly collaborating with artists from many disciplines. Apart from her collaborative work, in 2014 she started The Gaita & Orchestra Commissioning Project (partially funded by New Music USA ) to build a repertoire for gaita and symphony orchestra. Galician bagpipe concertos commissioned by Pato have been premiered with Sphinx Orchestra in Detroit, Chicago Sinfonietta in Chicago, Real Filharmonía de Galicia, Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès in Barcelona and Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.
Cristina is an active producer, curator and artistic director of multidisciplinary events, including her own festival Galician Connection and productions for other artists such as Yo-Yo Ma’s Bach Project.