Alejandro Cortés

Alejandro Cortés
Alejandro Cortés
Artist Faculty Jazz Piano
Chicago College of Performing Arts
» Music Conservatory
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About Me

Born into a large family of guitarists and trovadores, Alejandro was always surrounded by the music of Mexico and Latin America. While learning to sing and accompany himself on the guitar with his father and family in Mexico, he quickly developed an interest in the piano and began private instruction at the age of 7. Alejandro was fortunate enough to attend Bruce Guadalupe at the United Community Center, which had the only Latin jazz band in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was there that he was introduced to the music of Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaría, and Sergio Mendez, which set the course for the rest of his musical journey.

Throughout high school and college, Alejandro was instrumental in forming the Latin Jazz Ensemble at the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and forging a partnership between MYSO and the UCC’s orchestra program. He spent his summers teaching private and group lessons, which included improvisation instruction for classical string musicians. These groups still come together once a year to showcase this partnership in an annual concert called Charanga-Son!  

Alejandro received his bachelor’s degree in Jazz and Contemporary Music Studies from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University as a jazz piano major with a full scholarship. During his time at the CCPA, he had the opportunity to study with renowned musicians including Jim Trompeter, Edwin Sanchez, and Ruben Alvarez. This unique educational experience solidified his musicianship and strengthened his ability to communicate the marriage of Afro Cuban rhythms and complex jazz harmony.

Since graduating in 2014, Alejandro has free-lanced steadily in Chicago’s jazz and Latin jazz/salsa scene. He can be seen performing a wide range of styles from American pop and jazz to Afro Cuban, Brazilian, and Peruvian folk music. Notable performances include concerts with international salsa singers Kayvan Vega, Willito Otero, Nino Segarra, Pedro Conga, Willie Gonzalez, Rafy Santana, Yoko “La Japonesa Salsera,” and legendary trumpeter and arranger Luis “Perico” Ortiz. Alejandro is a regular performer at Chicago’s major music festivals including the Chicago Jazz Festival, Latin Jazz Fest, and the Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Colombian festivals.

Alejandro has kept a successful private piano studio in Chicago since 2014. He joined Roosevelt University’s jazz faculty in the fall of 2018.