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About Me

Grammy winning multi-percussionist, educator, arranger and composer Carlos "Carly" Maldonado was born and raised in Carolina, Puerto Rico. A talented musician, Carlos stands out brilliantly in the music world as Afro-Latin, Symphonic & Mallet percussionist. Mr. Maldonado received his B.M. in Symphonic Percussion from the Puerto Rico Music Conservatory studying with Prof.Jose Alicea and M.A. in Jazz Arranging & Performance from The Aaron Copland School of Music (CUNY) in New York studying with Prof.Michael Mossman, Prof.Christos Rafalides & Prof. Antonio Hart.

He began playing timbales at the age of 12 years old, a talent inherited from his father who was a salsa “timbalero” in the 70’s. By the age of 14 he began performing professionally in Puerto Rico with artist such as the virtouso “sonero” Cano Estremera, Millo Torres y El Tercer Planeta, Plena Libre and La PVC. His formal musical education began at the School of Arts in Carolina, Puerto Rico with Prof. David Marcano. His first big international break came with superstar Victor Manuelle in a stint that lasted for 6 years and provided him with the opportunity to tour all over the world and prestigious events such as Grammy's, Billboard's Awards, Univision Premios Lo Nuestro, Live album's at Carnegie Hall  with producer Emilio Estefan, Live at Madison Square Garden feat.Gilberto Santarosa & Eddie Palmieri.

During his career Mr. Maldonado has been blessed to share the stage or record in studios with international artists and orchestras from many different genres such as: Wynton Marsalis & Jazz At Lincoln Center, Randy Weston, George Coleman, Alex Acuña, Steve Khan, Antonio Sanchez, Lionel Loueke, Donald Harrison, Ray Santos, David Sanchez, Chucho Valdes, Mark Ronson, Pleneros de la 21, Puerto Rico Symphony, Sergio George, Orchestra of St. Luke, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Paquito D' Rivera, Earl Mcltyre, Steven Oquendo Orchestra, Christian McBride, Quintet of The Americas, La India, Jerry Rivera, Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz, David Amram, Andy Montañez, Omara Portuondo, The Klezmatics, Gad Elbaz, Olivier & Sheki Gatto, Jose Lugo "Guasabara", Giovanni Hidalgo, Bobby Valentin, Cheo Feliciano, Regina Carter, Danny Rivera, John Benitez Band, Gary Morgan Panamericana, Lewis Del Mar,Sheila E, Luis "Perico" Ortiz and many great artists.


Since arriving in New York in 2009, he became member of the innovative latin jazz ensemble of the legendary trombonist/composer Papo Vazquez Mighty Pirates Troubadours. He is also member since 2013 of the Grammy winner Arturo O'farrill Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra that have a home every Sunday night at the legendary Birdland Jazz Club. As an educator Carlos has been part of the faculties of Queens College, Brooklyn Music School, Bronx Art Ensemble, Multicultural Music Organization, Jazz House Kids, Puerto Rico Music Conservatory, Excelsior Music School, NY POPS, ALJA, Third Street Music School.In 2022 Carlos have received a Simon Industrial and Professional Fellowship to work together with musician Dr.Alexander Gagatsis & Yazz Ahmed at the Department of Music at the University of Manchester UK. 


Also as a clinician he have gave masterclasses in many prestigious music schools as:Royal Northern College of Music UK, Manchester University UK, Manhattan School of Music, California State University, Miami Dade College, Duke University, Harlem School of Arts, University of Vermont, Brooklyn College, Berklee College of Music, NYU & NYU Abu DhaBi, UCLA, CUNY, Philadelphia Clef Club, SUNY Postdam,Wayne State University and Puerto Rico Music Conservatory. He is also an exclusive artist for JRF Percussion, Innovative Percussion Sticks, Meinl Percussion & Meinl Cymbals.

Carlos Maldonado photo by Martin Cohen
photo by Martin Cohen congaheads
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