Jazz pianist Nachito Herrera on performing worldwide, recovering from COVID-19

Nachito Herrera
Cuban American pianist Nachito Herrera is internationally recognized for his work as a jazz and classical performer. He moved from Cuba to Minnesota in 2001.
Euan Kerr | MPR News

Ignacio “Nachito“ Herrera has been playing jazz piano since he was a child. At age 12, he performed with the Havana Symphony Orchestra. Now at 55, he has played on stages around the world, and won numerous awards, including City Pages Best Jazz Artist for four years, Emmys, Grammys, Minnesota Music Awards and the Immigrants of Distinction Award. 

Herrera moved from Cuba to Minnesota in 2001. In 2020, Herrera’s battle with COVID-19 left him in a coma-like state for 14 days. 

On Tuesday, MPR News host Angela Davis talked with Herrera about his career, his battle with COVID, his upcoming performances and why he’s decided to continue calling Minnesota home.


Nachito Herrera is an award-winning jazz pianist who has lived in Minnesota since 2001. 

Here are a few things Nachito Herrera said during the conversation with Angela Davis:

Before you keep reading ...

MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.

“Latin jazz gives you that kind of combination where you are in the United States, but at the same musically you can take a tour to Cuba or Brazil.”

“Music is a wonderful, beautiful language. It is always to unite. It is always to get people together.”

“Never think about tomorrow. Think about today. It doesn’t matter if you have in the audience one, two, three, three thousand, thirty thousand people. Always play from the bottom of your heart, because they are spending time to go to see you there.” – on advice he got from his classical piano teacher about performing

“Music is always a beautiful thing to do. Music is something that has always helped to (bring) people together. If any of your kids, you see they are leaning toward becoming a musician, please give them the chance.” – on what he would say to families whose children are interested in music