• Enrique at 18 months old
  • Enrique in the 50's
  • As he left Cuba in 1961
  • In Atlanta, Georgia in the mid-1960's
  • 1990 Chief Operating Officer at AFW
  • Grammy Awards, February 2002
  • Enrique with his Grandchildren

Enrique Chia has always been a man caught between his passion for science and music. Chia’s love for music started as a child in Cienfuegos, “a very beautiful city on the south coast of Cuba. At night you would see the bay covered with little points of light from the fishermen, just like fireflies, thousands of them- such a sight that there is a song, Luna Cienfueguera, which was inspired by this beautiful sight.”      

On these evenings, Chia would listen with his family as his mother played the piano. Soon he began to peck at the keys, and by age five, his mother began to see his interest and talent growing. He studied piano in his native Cienfuegos with Maestro José Manuel Vázquez, of the Conservatory of Music of Havana. Chia’s mother also instilled in him a belief that music was for personal pleasure, and not for making a living. So in 1961, just as the political climate was changing in Cuba, Chia left home and attended West Georgia College, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in Chemistry.  Later, he attended Georgia Tech, where he obtained his Masters and PhD degrees in metallurgy.     

In 1968 he married Diana Beguiristain. They established their home in Carrollton, Georgia, where their two daughters, Laura and Lisa grew up. Chia kept playing the piano for small gatherings while working at Southwire Company where he ultimately became chief metallurgist. During his tenure at Southwire, Chia was granted 46 US patents for the development of processes in the continous casting of copper and the development of several aluminum alloys for electrical conductors. In 1986 he was selected for a special faculty position at Georgia Tech Research Institute to work with private industry in the improvement of metals-processing techniques. In 1990 he became Executive Vice president and Chief Operating Officer of American Fine Wire Company, working with computer components until 1996. Enrique was inducted to the Georgia Institute of Technology Engineering Hall of Fame in 2008 for his contribution to the wire industry.     

Enrique Chia’s music was private until he recorded a cassette at the insistence of his father-in-law, Dr. Rodolfo Beguiristain, who wanted to make copies for family and friends. The tape was played at a shop in Miami and his music was so well received by the public, that he continued recording. Several of his CDs include the participation of master bassist Israel López “Cachao”. He has also featured flutist Nestor Torres, and legends like Olga Guillot and Libertad Lamarque, who sang accompanied by Chia’s piano in her last vocal recording. Maestro Chia has a total of 49 CDs to date, that include romantic boleros, tangos, traditional tropical, Christmas, Italian, inspirational music and two sets of international hits of American music. Several of his collections have been for sale on national television networks such as CNN, Headline News, TNT, Univision and Telemundo.  He has co-produced with WPBT, the PBS affiliate in South Florida, two  programs which were used during the fundraising broadcasts and have aired nationwide in other PBS stations.      

Initially performing only benefit concerts, Maestro Chia now regularly performs throughout the United States and Latin America. He has performed internationally, in countries including Mexico, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala,Venezuela, Ecuador, Perú and Brazil.     

Enrique Chia has received numerous commendations and accolades.  He received the prestigious Casandra International Award in the Dominican Republic and a nomination for a Grammy Award in the classical croos-over category for his recording “The Music of Ernesto Lecuona.” Most recently he received the 2008 Sun Coast Emmy Award in the cultural documentary category for his PBS special “Eternal Cuba.”  Maestro Chia’s masterful interpretations continue to move audiences around the world with feeling and emotion.