Felix “Pupi” Legarreta

2008 Pew Fellow

Felix “Pupi” Legarreta, 2008 Pew Fellow. Directed by Glenn Holsten.

“The melody needs some dress. I cannot send it naked, so I dress it up with the harmony, you know?”

Felix “Pupi” Legarreta (b/ 1940) is a violinist, flutist, singer, arranger, pianist, and guitarist who has participated in several landmark periods of Latin music. Legarreta was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, and he started playing the violin when he was seven years old. When he was a teenager, he played with some of Cuba’s most famous musicians, performing live on both the radio and television. Legarreta left Cuba in the late 1950s and moved to Chicago to play in the second Charanga group formed in the United States. He taught himself to play the Cuban five-key flute in the 1960s, and toured throughout the United States during the 1970s and ’80s. Legarreta has been in Philadelphia for the past 30 years, working with and teaching local musicians, working as an electrician, and playing and recording music on a regular basis. He is in the unique position in his field to be a master of violin, flute, piano, vocals, and arrangements.

In 2006 En Honor a Pupi Legarreta was released, a studio recording with local Philadelphia band leader Foto Rodriguez and his group Charanga la Única. Legarreta has performed and recorded with many artists including pianist Larry Harlow, and bassist Israel “Cachao” Lopez. Legarreta was a member of the Fania All Stars, traveling internationally and recording as many as four albums with musical greats such as Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco, Héctor Lavoe, Ray Barretto, Papo Lucca, and Ruben Blades, among others.

Grants & Grantees

In 1997 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 12 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 46 dance, music, and theater organizations in the greater Philadelphia region.

Poet and Pew Fellow Ryan Eckes on his desire to “write toward another way of living,” why he chooses to work and live in Philadelphia, the books on his bedside table, and more.

Grants & Grantees

This large-scale performance piece revealed unique insights into Fryderyk Chopin as both a historical figure and a masterful composer, as the piano parts for two concerti were replaced with powerful spoken monologues constructed from fragments of Chopin’s letters and biographies, performed in Polish by actress Barbara Wysocka and accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.

Piffaro holds a symposium exploring music, poetry, and art in the Spanish Golden Age, and its relation to Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

Grants & Grantees

Daisy Fried is a poet and a 1998 Pew Fellow.

The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia worked with the owners of the house to plan a program strategy for the 20th-century jazz great’s former home, as well as an adjacent property.

Grants & Grantees

Nicholas Wardigo is a theater artist and a 2004 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Emily Brown is a visual artist and a 2000 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Hayes blends various mediums—including video, performance, installation, and photography—to probe the complex intersections of history, politics, gender, and speech within private and public spaces.

A contemporary restaging plan will be developed to showcase the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s 1947 Better Philadelphia Exhibition—a pivotal historic project that helped define the future of urban redevelopment.

Built in 1836, Laurel Hill was one of the country’s first rural cemeteries. In the 21st century, the cemetery attracts visitors to musical programs, tours, photography programs, and more.

Collaborators & Colleagues

David Devan is general director and president of Opera Philadelphia, where he works on strategic planning initiatives and builds partnerships within the Philadelphia community and the opera world.