Composer, singer-songwriter, violinist, bandleader
GRAMMY-Award-winning artist Ernesto Villalobos was born in Veracruz and grew up listening to his grandmother Cristina play the captivating rhythms of traditional Mexican music.
A virtuoso violinist, composer, and singer-songwriter, Ernesto won the 2022 GRAMMY for his contributions to the Best Latin Jazz Album "Fandango at the Wall in NY," in collaboration with Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra and other esteemed artists, including Jorge Francisco Castillo (originator of Fandango Fronterizo), Broadway superstar Mandy Gonzales (In the Heights, Wicked), hip-hop superstar Anita Tijoux, son jarocho masters Ramón Gutiérrez, Patricio Hidalgo, Tacho Utrera, Wendy Utrera, Alberto Villalobos, Luis Villalobos (Ernesto's brothers, The Villalobos Brothers), Fernando Guadarrama, jazz legends Regina Carter, Akua Dixon, Humberto Flores, Sahba Motallebi, and Rahim Alhaj. This captivating album, produced by Kabir Sehgal and engineered by Rafa Sardina, was later transformed into an HBO MAX documentary, highlighting the profound impact of music as a bridge between cultures and a force for unity.
At the age of 18, Ernesto was recognized as the youngest-ever recipient of a Fulbright scholarship in classical music (awarded by the United States Department of State). Since then, his musical journey has been one of remarkable ascent, receiving numerous commissions to write and perform his own music as a soloist with renowned symphony orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, and Sun Valley Symphony, among others. He continues to collaborate and record with legendary musicians such as Eddie Palmieri, The Chieftains, Dolly Parton, Lila Downs, Tom Morello, Bruce Springsteen, Morley, Leni Stern, Adam Feder, and The Shul Band, among many others.
On September 22, 2023, Ernesto and his brothers took center stage as headliners in the opening season at the highly-anticipated Perelman Performing Arts Center in Manhattan. The evening, titled "Relatively Speaking: Family as Refuge," showcased the talent of families who create music together.
Ernesto's passion for education is as compelling as his music. He has embarked on a mission to inspire the next generation of musicians, championing initiatives like Carnegie Hall's "Musical Explorers" (scheduled for 2025 in Zankel Hall), 92 Street Y's School Concerts, and Midori and Friends.
In January of 2024, the Villalobos Brothers appeared at the 75th Congress of the International Society for the Performing Arts at PAC-NYC, and the 21st edition of globalFEST at Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall.
Ernesto holds advanced degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, Kibbutz Eilon in Israel, and Bayerische Musikakademie in Germany. He received guidance and mentorship from a remarkable lineup of teachers, including Ida Haendel, Shlomo Mintz, Patty Kopec, Carlos Marrufo, and Joan King, all contributing greatly to his exceptional musical journey and artistry.
However, his greatest teacher continues to be his daughter. Ernesto resides in New York City with his wife, Inga, and their two-year-old daughter, Leah Victoria.
Portrait by Ross Carlisle (oil on panel)
Portrait by Ross Carlisle (oil on pagggggg)
Villalobos Brothers Grammy-winning "El Pijul" with Orchestra
Villalobos Brothers, El San Lorenzo
The Villalobos Brothers are represented exclusively by FLi Artists, a talent agency renowned for their expertise in roots music worldwide. To discuss opportunities or for any booking queries, please reach out to FLi directly. For clearance matters, Matt Greenhill is your go-to contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
To reach Ernesto directly, please use the form on this page. We look forward to hearing from you!