Born in Havana, Cuba, Mario Abril spent his early years in the small town of Sagua la Grande. Taught by his mother during early childhood, he studied music theory, music literature and piano. Subsequently, Abril received formal instruction in violin, guitar and composition. He was a disciple of the distinguished Cuban guitarist Héctor García and later studied under the English master Julian Bream. Still a teenager, Abril took part in the ill-fated Cuban Bay of Pigs invasion and was imprisoned for twenty-two months. His academic accreditation includes a degree in guitar performance from The University of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a Ph.D. degree in music theory from The Florida State University, School of Music.
Abril has performed in North America and abroad. Of his playing, The Toronto Globe and Mail said: "Sheer technical virtuosity." The Dominican Republic's Listín Diario said: "He shared with the audience a lofty rich tone, secure and sustained musicality. . . a marvelous program." The Chattanooga Times said: "From start to finish, Abril dazzled his many admirers." He has been featured on radio, television and recordings; his editions, arrangements and compositions have been published and distributed worldwide by Hansen House, Columbia Pictures Publications-Belwin Mills, Warner Bros., and currently by www.MusicforEnsemble.com
In addition to a thirty year career as a performer and teacher, Mario Abril is a composer of music for chamber and symphonic ensembles. His transcriptions and arrangements for solo guitar and for guitar/harp ensemble have been performed and recorded by leading artists, and his ballet Amethyst (1994) was the subject of a one-hour, nationally broadcast, award-winning public television documentary. His symphonic music has been performed by The Florida Philharmonic, The Louisville Orchestra, The Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra and the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional of the Dominican Republic, among others. His composition Migrations (1996) was featured by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and broadcast on National Public Radio.
From 2001 to 2004 Mario Abril was Composer-in-Residence with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, and in 2006 he was Composer-in-Residence of the Vakhtang Jordania International Conducting Competition. He is the recipient of the 2002-2003 Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship, and the Tennessee Music Teachers Association 2003-2004 Composer of the Year award. At the present time, Dr. Abril is Professor of guitar and music theory on the faculty of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.