Four Honorees to receive 2012 NALAC Lifetime Achievement Awards

Jesse Bermudez, Founder and Executive/Artistic Director

Asociación de Músicos Latino Americanos (AMLA)

René Buch, Artistic Director

Repertorio Español

Al and Carmen Castellano,

Castellano Family Foundation

Tina Ramirez, Founder

Ballet Hispánico

The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures has selected four honorees as their 2012 NALAC Lifetime Achievement Honorees. Every two years, NALAC recognizes the commitment and contributions of individuals in support of artists and the field of Latino arts and cultures. The NALAC Lifetime Achievement Award is NALAC’s highest honor. The honorees will receive a special reception and medal at the 8th National NALAC Conference in Philadelphia October 19 and October 20.

Jesse Bermudez

Mr. Bermudez was Founder and Executive/Artistic Director of the Asociación de Músicos Latino Americanos (AMLA), a non-profit multicultural organization that promoted the development and dissemination of Latin music, with an emphasis on educating and empowering youth and community.  Since 1982, AMLA has become a presence via television and radio performances, concerts, festivals, school and museum workshops, band bookings and large client productions.  Mr. Bermudez is a concert producer, of Latin music and bands, was an on air personality on WNWR 1540 am and a producer of festivals, as well as serving as Master of Ceremonies for hundreds of events.

Mr. Bermudez has received awards from the National Congress of Puerto Rican Rights, WPVI-TV Channel Six’s “Puerto Rican Panorama,” and the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation; more recently he was awarded the Painted Bride first Artist of the City Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Concilio, and a Grammy nomination for his live recording of “Papo Vazquez and The Mighty Pirates.” Mr. Bermudez continues to work tirelessly as advisor to a new Charter School for Arts and Culture and to the work that still needs to be done at AMLA in music education and cultural awareness.

René Buch

Born in Cuba, René Buch was founder and director of Pro Arte de Oriente’s Theater Department, as well as founder of Havana’s Acción Teatral de Autores. He holds a degree in Law from Havana University and an MFA from Yale’s Drama School. While completing his degree, Mr. Buch taught Spanish and Spanish Literature at Yale. He directed “La dama duende” at the Greenwich Mews Theater in 1968. The success of this production gave birth to a new company—Repertorio Español. As artistic director of Repertorio Español, Mr. Buch has directed dozens of plays, from Spanish classics to contemporary Latin American plays, and plays written by Hispanic American authors in the United States.

He has served as a panel member for the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, The Village Voice OBIE Awards Committee and the Independent Committee on Arts Policy. Most recently, Mr. Buch received an ENCORE Award from the Arts and Business Council of New York for 40 years of sustained Excellence in Management, Theater Communications Group’s (TCG) Theater Practitioner Award, a Lifetime Achievement OBIE Award and the Order of Isabella the Catholic bestowed by King Juan Carlos I of Spain.

Alcario and Carmen Castellano

Upon receiving a very large Lotto winning in June of 2001, Al and his wife Carmen established the Castellano Family Foundation in December 2001.  Carmen is the President of the Castellano Family Foundation, dedicated to the cultivation and enrichment of Latino family values through support of organizations, primarily in the Santa Clara County community, promoting the arts, Latino culture, Latino leadership, the educational pursuits of Latino students, and special interests of the Trustees.  The Castellano Family Foundation has awarded grants to over 140 organizations totaling more than $3.2 million dollars.

Currently Al serves on the board of directors of Latinas Contra Cancer and previously served on the boards of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley and the American GI Forum. Currently Carmen is a member of the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley, the SCCOE Artspiration Steering Committee, and NALAC board. Al and Carmen are the recipients of numerous awards, and most recently, San Jose City College honored Carmen Castellano by naming a new campus building the Carmen Castellano Fine Arts Center.

Tina Ramirez

Ms. Ramirez created Ballet Hispanico in 1970. Under her direction, over 45 choreographers have created works for the Company, many of international stature and others in the early stages of their career.  Ballet Hispanico’s repertory of over 95 works is set to a range of musical styles, complemented by production values from a roster of acclaimed designers.  The result has been a brilliant mosaic, reflecting the many facets of Latino cultures from around the world and acclaimed in performance by audiences across three continents.

In addition to the 2005 National Medal of Arts, Ms. Ramirez has received countless awards and honors in recognition of her work, including the Dance Magazine Award, the Hispanic Heritage Award for Education,and the NYC Mayor’s Award of Honor for Arts & Culture.  Ms. Ramirez currently serves on the board of The New 42nd Street, and was Co-Chair for the New York City Department of Education Dance Curriculum Blueprint Committee.  She has served on numerous panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, as well as the board of the Association of Hispanic Arts.