MDC Wolfson Campus to Host Tribute to Cuban American Icon Willy Chirino on Oct. 18

The Grammy Award-winning artist will attend and guest musicians will perform some of his greatest hits for an unforgettable evening

Miami, Sept. 26, 2023 – As part of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Wolfson Campus, in collaboration with the College’s award-winning television station MDC-TV, will present a tribute to MDC Hall of Famer and Miami sensation Willy Chirino, now celebrating 50 extraordinary years in the music business. Guest musicians performing Chirino’s music will include Carlos Oliva, Lena Burke and Lucy Grau. The MDC Foundation will present Chirino with a lifetime achievement award.

The tribute will be hosted by MDC alumna and renowned stage, film and television actress Vivian Ruiz, starting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at MDC Wolfson Campus in downtown Miami, and online at The event is free and open to the public, but RSVP is required. The entire program will be in Spanish.

Born in Consolación del Sur, a town in western Cuba, Chirino emigrated to the U.S. when he was 14 through Operation Pedro Pan along with thousands of other Cuban children. He was influenced early on by the music of Beny Moré, Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, Little Richard, Elvis Presley and The Beatles. Alongside Oliva and other Miami artists, he is recognized as one of the originators of the “Miami Sound,” a fusion of Cuban music, rock, jazz, Brazilian and Caribbean rhythms.

Chirino has released more than 35 albums and composed over 100 songs, which have been recorded by over 60 artists. He has also produced albums for international singers, such as the late Rocío Jurado, Spanish superstar Raphael, salsa legends Oscar D’León and Celia Cruz, among dozens more. His albums Oxígeno (1991) and Acuarela del Caribe (1990) went platinum, Zarabanda (1985), South Beach (1993), Asere (1995) and Afro-disiac (2000) earned gold status.

He won a GRAMMY Award for Best Salsa/Merengue Album for “Son del Alma” in 2006. The following year, he was nominated for another GRAMMY for “35 Aniversario – En vivo.” In 2014, he received a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Other recognitions include the United States Legion of Honor in 1976 for his humanitarian work. In 1996 he was also recognized by UNICEF for his work with the Willy Chirino Foundation and also received the Billboard Humanitarian Award. He earned a star on Miami’s popular Calle Ocho Walk of Fame and was the Grand Marshall of Carnival Calle Ocho in 1993. Two streets have been named after him in the City of Miami and City of Hialeah.

WHAT:            MDC Wolfson Campus and MDC-TV Host Tribute to Willy Chirino

WHEN:             Wednesday, Oct. 18, 7 – 9:30 p.m., 7 p.m. main event, free and open to the public

WHERE:          MDC Wolfson Campus, Auditorium (Building 1, second floor), 300 N.E. 2nd Avenue

For more information about Willy Chirino’s tribute at MDC, please contact Tony Leal at, 305-237-1197, or Viviam Lopez at, 305-237-3225.