Cyro Baptista Working with Students (March-July 2017)

Cyro Baptista with UB percussion students and faculty. Photograph by Tanis Winslow.

Cyro Baptista is a Brazilian musician, recording artist, and teacher (although he disavows the title) specializing in percussion in the genres of jazz and world music. His mastery of Brazilian percussion and the many instruments he creates himself, have catapulted him into world renown. During his Creative Arts Initiative residency, Baptista conducted a series of masterclasses with UB percussion students and faculty.

Since arriving in the US in 1980 from his native country Brazil, Cyro Baptista has emerged as one of the premier percussionists in the country. Coinciding with the rise in the public’s interest of world music, Cyro has managed to record and tour with some of music’s most popular names.

Baptista recorded with pianist Herbie Hancock on his 2005 release, Possibilities. In 2002 Baptista toured with Yo-Yo Ma’s Brazil Project and also appeared on the Obrigado Brazil album – winner of two Grammy awards. He also toured with Trey Anastasio of Phish and John Zorn. He recorded and performed worldwide with Herbie Hancock’s Grammy award winning Gershwin’s World. Baptista collaborated with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra for a Brazilian Carnival modern jazz concert. For over two years, he toured with Paul Simon's Rhythm of the Saints tour and appears on his Concert in Central Park release. He also toured worldwide with Sting in 2001.

During his CAI residency, Baptista worked with Buffalo sculptor Shasti O’Leary Soudant and UB students on the creation of a unique sculpture/percussion instrument, the Beat Blossom, that was installed in the Percussion Garden at Artpark. Baptista also conducted a week-long workshop for UB students and members of the public entitled Sound of the Community (July 24-30). Opening performance on the installation by Cyro Baptista, Billy Martin, Tom Kolor, UB music students, participants in the Sound of the Community workshop, and others took place July 30, 2017.

Cyro Baptista leading masterclass in percussion for UB students, March 29, 2017. Video by Tanis Winslow.