Leo Blanco is a Venezuelan pianist, arranger and composer. Leo grew up in Mérida-Venezuela, where from early age he was surrounded by Venezuelan folklore – a blend of African and European musical traditions– as well as jazz, classical music and pop. At the age of 11 he already was a member of the Mérida Youth Symphony Orchestra.
After moving to Caracas at the age of 16 he performed and recorded with his own Jazz trio, while studying Improvisation, jazz harmony and piano at the musical Institute “Ars Nova” and University of Musical Studies. Soon he started working with very well known jazz and Latin pop national artists. During his eight year in Caracas, Leo obtained vast experience as a composer, arranger, and musical producer while working as musical director at the city’s oldest and most important jazz venue, Juan Sebastian Bar. There, with the Leo Blanco Trio, he shared the stage with major international jazz artist such as Terence Blanchard, Danilo Perez, Pat Metheny, Chucho Valdez (Irakere), Joao Bosco, and Gonzalo Rubalcaba.
His interest in world music and jazz brought him to Boston in 1996, where he immediately obtained a full scholarship to study composition and improvisation in both Berklee and then New England Conservatory. His talent and dedication to music was very quickly recognized in the US. In March 1996, Leo was the first Latin American to win to a prestigious Jazz awards: the “Boston Jazz Society Award”, and in May of the same year, he received the Billboard Grant Award for his “talent, commitment, achievement and other attributes indicating that he is likely to make a significant contribution to society through music. Comissioned to write a new piece “End of the Amazonia” for the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra