Gabriel Ayala

Always a popular performer at the Arizona Senior Academy, virtuoso guitarist Gabriel Ayala returns to the Academy stage along with his Trio members, Richard Katz on piano and Danny Brito on percussion, for an 11:30 a.m. concert on Tuesday (Sept. 19).

Ayala’s music incorporates classical guitar styles combined with Native American, tango, flamenco and jazz influences. His original “JazzMenco” compositions represent a fusion of these influences with the improvisational approach of jazz. Tuesday’s program will draw from this repertoire along with Afro-Cuban, Latin, pop and world music covers.

Ayala has performed nationally and internationally with a variety of artists including Willie Nelson, Dr. John, and Tommy Chong. He has won a variety of awards including the Native American Music Award’s “Best Instrumental CD” (2009) and “Artist of the Year” (2011). Among Ayala’s CDs with his own Trio or Quintet are Passion, Fire & Grace (which showcases his JazzMenco compositions), Gabriel Ayala Live at the Mission (recorded at the San Xavier Mission to benefit restoration of the Mission), and Encore! (also recorded live at the Mission).

A member of the Yaqui people of southern Arizona, Ayala is at the forefront of a generation of Native Americans making a career performing classical music. He earned his master’s degree in Music Performance from the University of Arizona in 1997, and has taught at all educational levels from elementary through college.

As part of his advocacy mission, he established the Gabriel Ayala Foundation, which has awarded more than 25 scholarships for higher education, and promotes activities to help youth find a positive addiction in life through music. Ayala works to show children that they can become whatever they dream. His philosophy is “Love your children, Honor your elders, and Respect your women.”

Written by Leslie Nitzberg, Academy Village Volunteer

More Info on attending an event
Academy Village is an active-adult community located off Old Spanish Trail six miles southeast of Saguaro National Park East. Its residents support the Arizona Senior Academy, a non-profit charitable organization whose mission includes offering free concerts and lectures to the public.

These events are held in the Great Room of The ASA Building adjacent to the Academy Village Community Center. Due to the popularity of cultural events, non-residents who wish to ensure priority seating are advised to make reservations by email at or by phone at (520) 647-0980. To learn more about the Academy, go to

Parking for visitors is in the lot behind the Community Center. All parking spaces in front of the Academy building are reserved.

Gabriel Ayala Returns to the ASA: September 2017
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