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In 2018, after two decades as an active musician, bandleader and teaching artist Pablo Sanhueza co-founded the Kansas City Latin Jazz Orchestra with historian & preservationist Cynthia Ammerman.

The Latin Jazz Institute is a bilingual (Spanish, English) private non-profit conservatory based in Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas. We are dedicated to the preservation and advancement of  Latin Jazz, Afro-Caribbean, and South American folk and cultural arts. As the American Midwest experiences an immense demographic and cultural change, our youth apprenticeship and workforce development program (World Music Workforce), are at the core of our academic and artistic ethos. We participate actively in regional, national, and international artistic events that highlight community-building and intercultural dialogue.

The Kansas City Latin Jazz Orchestra is a professional performance ensemble. It integrates young graduates from our Latin Jazz Studies Program and established professionals, master musicians, and visiting artists. The artistic ethos of the orchestra is based on a commitment to passing on musical knowledge and transmitting values that enlighten and edify our communities and local artistic ecosystem. Our programming contributes to the preservation and creative advancement of the art form as well as generating a sustainable and equitable music industry in our region.

In 2020, KCLJO received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to for a commissioned collaboration with NEA Jazz Master & Latin Jazz Pioneer Maestro Eddie Palmieri. 

About Pablo Sanhueza 

Pablo Sanhueza has been deemed as "Kansas City's Heart & Soul of Latin Music" by Jazz Ambassadors Magazine and recognized as the region's premier Salsa & Latin Jazz percussionist and bandleader.  Since his arrival to Kansas City from Santiago, Chile in 1996 Pablo has dedicated the past 25 years of his distinguished career to the music of the Latin American experience. As a percussionist, bandleader, and teaching artist he has played with the mainstays of the genre and taught three generations of musicians in the Midwestern and Southwestern United States. 


As a performer at the concert stage, Pablo Sanhueza brings the charisma and precision of the Maestros of the Mambo and Big Band era. In 2019, Sanhueza presented his apprentice musicians and veteran collaboration project to an audience reach of nearly 40,000—hosting the longest running salsa & latin jazz nights in the Midwest at the Blue Room. 


Sanhueza studied with Jesus Alfonso, Sandy Perez, (Muñequitos de matanzas), and has shared the stage with Poncho Sanchez, David Valentin, Titos Sompa, and toured Europe appearing at Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Red Sea Jazz Festival in Holland and Champs Elysees Paris, France. 


In 2014, Sanhueza spent an immersion year in South America, studying Afro-Chilean and Afro-Andino folkloric music and dances. Since 2014 Sanhueza has returned multiple times to continue this artistic exchange with the musicians at the front line of this ongoing research and exchange through jazz and folk workshops and concerts across Chile & the United States through his Chile-Kansas City Jazz Exchange. 


Based in San Diego and Kansas City, Sanhueza is a master artist for the Missouri Traditional Arts Apprentice program and was the featured presenter at the Missouri Bi-Centennial Celebration in August 2021 representing Missouri's unique jazz heritage. Sanhueza & KCLJO have received letters of support from the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz/International Jazz Day for cultural & education outreach in Chile.

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