CINTAS Foundation at MDC to Honors Willy Chirino with Lifetime Achievement Award

Miami, November 18, 2016 – The CINTAS Foundation, housed at Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Museum of Art + Design (MOA+D), presented Willy Chirino with a Lifetime Achievement Award this past Saturday at the historic Freedom Tower. Although well known for his singing, the award specifically honors him in recognition of his internationally acclaimed contributions to the field of Music Composition and was presented by Hortensia Sampedro, President of the CINTAS Foundation, and Maria Elena Prio, Board Director of the CINTAS Foundation.

“Thank you to the CINTAS Foundation for recognizing me, especially in the field of Music Composition. The hardest thing that I found throughout the years is to write the song,” said Mr. Chirino upon being introduced.

Celebrating 40 years in the music business, Willy Chirino is recognized throughout the world as the creator of the Miami Sound. He won a GRAMMY® in 2006 for Best Salsa/Merengue Album for Son del Alma and was nominated in 2007 for a Latin GRAMMY® for Best Salsa Album for 35 Aniversario-En Vivo. He has released more than thirty albums and is the composer of over one hundred songs which have been recorded by over sixty artists including Celia Cruz, Raphael, Gipsy Kings, David Bisbal and Oscar D’Leon. Willy launched his own music label in 1997, Latinum Music, after being signed by CBS and later Sony Music.

He launched a worldwide tour in 2009 to promote his album Pa’lante which included the mega-hits Somos los Campeones, and the title song. The tour took him to Europe, Central and South America, and most major cities in the United States, culminating in a sold-out concert at the American Airlines Arena in his hometown, Miami. He then released My Beatles Heart in 2011, an album dedicated to the music of legendary British band The Beatles, but with the Chirino sound. In the summer of 2013, with an audience of over twelve thousand, he was part of the Salsa Giants concert alongside Marc Anthony, Oscar D’Leon, Cheo Feliciano, Luis Enrique, Andy Montañez, José Alberto “El Canario”, Tito Nieves, Nora from Orquesta de La Luz and Charlie Zaa at the Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival. The concert, produced by Sergio George, was released on CD and quickly reached the top of the charts. It won a Latin GRAMMY® in the category of Best Salsa Album and was nominated for a GRAMMY® and a Billboard® Award.

In 1976, he was awarded the United States Legion of Honor for his humanitarian work. He was also recognized by UNICEF for his work with the Willy Chirino Foundation in 1996 as well as the Billboard Humanitarian Award.

About the CINTAS Fellowship Program

The CINTAS Fellowship Program encourages creative development in architecture, literature, music composition and the visual arts. The CINTAS Foundation was established with funds from the estate of Oscar B. Cintas (1887-1957), former Cuban ambassador to the United States, a prominent industrialist and patron of the arts. In June 2011, the CINTAS Foundation entered into an extended loan to MDC’s Museum of Art + Design of the CINTAS Fellows Collection. It is comprised of nearly 300 pieces by artists of Cuban descent living outside Cuba who have received prestigious CINTAS Fellowships, awarded since 1963. The Fellows range from Carmen Herrera to Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Maria Martinez-Cañas, Teresita Fernandez, Pulitzer Prize winner Oscar Hijuelos, multiple-Obie winner Maria Elena Fornes, architect Andres Duany, Latin Grammy finalist composer Tania Leon and many others.

About MDC’s Museum of Art + Design

MDC Museum of Art + Design is Miami Dade College’s flagship institution dedicated to the presentation and exhibition of visual art and design, located within the historic MDC Freedom Tower in downtown Miami. With more than 13,000 square feet of exhibition space, the Museum of Art + Design presents year-round exhibitions and educational programs, and is known for its presentation of exhibitions by emerging artists, designers, as well as major figures in modern, post-modern and contemporary art. With a mission to promote the appreciation and understanding of art and its role in society through direct engagement, original works of art, design, and related creative processes; the Museum provides residents and visitors access to unique cultural, historical, and educational exhibitions that enrich our community, while building and preserving its expansive permanent art collection. Available to the public five days a week, and as an admission FREE institution with a diversity of patrons and visitors, the MDC Museum of Art + Design is one of the largest and most accessible institutions in the South Florida area devoted to visual arts and design.

More information can be found on the Museum & Galleries website:

For more information about the CINTAS program at MDC Museum of Art + Design, please contact Laurie Escobar, CINTAS Administrator, 305-237-7901,