Zahili Gonzalez Zamora is a pianist, composer, bandleader, arranger, and educator. Born in Manzanillo, Cuba, she started playing piano at the age of six, and graduated from the National School of Music with a performance degree. She feels most defined by her Cuban heritage and her status as an immigrant. Her passion for music has taken her to Canada, to South East Asia and, now, to the United States – a land of immigrants. She is always moving forward, guided and driven by her music and the need to grow as an artist and a person, to share her music and her love of life with others. She aspires to inspire; to be a messenger for a journey that is not only her own, but one that deeply resonates with others. She’s an artist who’s out of her comfort zone – her home – for the sake of her work. Her rich musical background, career experience and extraordinary improvisation skills render her a leader in the modern Latin jazz idiom and an influential, emulated musician.
In 2018, with funding from The Boston Foundation, her Afro-Cuban jazz Trio, MIXCLA, released its self-titled album, which features her original tunes and arrangements. It has received critical acclaim and earned the attention of major agents locally and internationally. The album has thus far advanced in the world of jazz, adding to her accolades two nominations from the Boston Music Awards (2018 & 2019).
Her trio has headlined at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston since 2018. A jazz landmark, Sculler’s has welcomed such greats as Shirley Horn, Christian McBride, and Wynton Marsalis, among others. They performed at the 59th Monterey Jazz Festival, the 2016 Stave Sessions as part of The Celebrity Series of Boston, the 2015 Montreal International Jazz Festival and other highly respected venues and festivals.
Some of the artists she has had the honor to work with include flutist Orlando “Maraca” Valle; Juno-award winning trumpeter Ingrid Jensen; and one-time Grammy award winning guitarist/film scorer Claudio Ragazzi.
In 2017, Zahili graduated from Berklee College of Music, summa cum laude, with a dual-degree in Jazz Composition and Jazz Piano Performance. While still a student she won the 40th annual Downbeat Magazine Music Award under the Outstanding Performance category and the Duke Ellington and the Wayne Shorter Awards for her outstanding creativity and musicianship. In 2019, she joined Berklee’s Piano Department as an Assistant Professor. She teaches private piano, Basic Keyboard for Non-Piano Principals and Advanced Latin Composing Technique.