With the release of the self titled album Yoham Ortiz Concept, Yoham “Chiqui” Ortiz translates a life lived among many cultures into music. An accomplished producer/arranger/composer and multi-instrumentalist, Yoham’s work is featured in film, television and theatre, as well as various multi-media outlets. His talent, skill and passion account for his frequent commissions to perform for both live and in studio sessions around the world.
Born on November 16 in New York City of Dominican parents, Yoham spent most of his childhood moving- from New York, to Puerto Rico, to West Virginia, back to New York, and finally to the Dominican Republic. Growing up in a family of doctors, music was an unlikely path. But at the age of 5, after hearing the Stevie Wonder song “Sir Duke” on his older sisters’ record player, Yoham began a new journey, led by music.
While living in Santo Domingo, Yoham taught himself to play guitar using a borrowed six string guitar that had only 2 strings. Within 6 months, he formed his first progressive rock band “Hazel Gray,” which would go on to be the first band to ever perform a rock concert at the premier classical music venue, Teatro Nacional, in the Dominican Republic. A year later Yoham would be invited to go on a South American tour with the Dominican super-group Parada 8, playing to crowds of tens of thousands. He was only 15.
Yoham moved back to the United States to study composition at SUNY Old Westbury, under the tutelage of Dr. Ken Makanda McIntyre, Warren Smith and Richard Harper. While in college, he was awarded with the “Outstanding Professional Development” award, as well as a scholarship to study jazz performance at Montclair State University wtih Vic Juris. Two years after graduating in 1991 with his Bachelor of Arts in Music, Yoham went on tour the reggae group Rising Lion, opening for Ziggy Marley, Steel Pulse, and the Skatelites.