At eight years old, Hilario Durán began to play the piano by ear, and as a teenager he listened to everything from Gershwin to Jarrett over short wave radio. A gifted student, Durán studied tumbao, composition, conducting and orchestral techniques, in addition to piano. Durán defected to the U.S. in 1990 and started his own band, Perspectiva. Five years later, he launched a solo career and headed north to Toronto, where he remains an active musician and respected educator. In 2005, Durán won a Juno for the album New Danzon and formed the Latin Jazz Big Band that same year.