Born on the Caribbean island of Aruba on a 7th of September, Hildward
Croes comes from a family of deep musical roots. His mother Ada is a singer and his father Maiky is a musician, singer, and
choir director of their hometown church of Santa Cruz.
At an early age Mr. and Mrs. Croes encouraged their four sons to participate
in the church choir on Sundays. This has been an important musical influence on the entire Croes family.
Since little Hildward was performing with different youth groups.
A music-lover since birth, Hildward started playing the piano at home with the help of his father at the age of 8. After a
few years playing by ear, Hildward began taking piano lessons with various music teachers on the island.
While forming part of the band that accompanied their church choir,
Hildward and his brother Michael were invited to start the band Cryptus Confession. Cryptus quickly became one of the most
popular pop-rock bands of Aruba, recording their number 1 hit: "Love Dream", part of a successful album of Hildward's original
compositions. The album was recorded at Criteria Studios, Miami (studio famous in those days for recordings of The Bee Gees,
Elton John, and The Eagles' Hotel California). With Cryptus Confession, Hildward toured Venezuela, South America, and other
Caribbean islands extensively.
Croes received a scholarship from the Arubian government to study
music at the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston. While in Boston he received regular invitations to participate in
recordings and to perform in concerts and recitals. He finished his bachelors degree in professional music and continued his
post-graduate studies at Bowling Green State University, in Ohio. Hildward returned to Aruba with a master of music degree
and became one of the most sought after arrangers and producers of the area. He produced numerous hits for artists and groups
in Aruba, Curacao, and other Caribbean islands.
After he was comissioned to produce an album of Caribbean music for
the record label Sonografica in Caracas, Venezuela, Hildward got noticed by the "merengue-king": Wilfrido Vargas. Vargas immediately
signed him to be a part of his orchestra and produce records for his corporation. Hildward toured Europe, North, Central and
South America with the Wilfrido Vargas orchestra playing keyboards and programming computer sequences for the live shows.
During this time Croes also arranged and produced for many successful Latin American acts such as Las Chicas Del Can, Altamira
Banda Show, Mandarina, Eddy Herrera, Roy Tavare, Micky Taveras, and of course Wilfrido Vargas.
Hildward earned an American Grammy Award nomination in the Latin-Tropical
category for his work on the album Animacion by Wilfrido Vargas, which he co-produced. The same year he won first prize in
the international competition of arrangements of the world-popular hit-song of that time: Lambada, which he arranged and produced
for the popular ladies-group: Las Chicas Del Can.
Soon Croes got noticed by the world-famous latin singer-songwriter
Juan Luis Guerra and was approached to be a part of his orchestra. For 5 years Hildward toured the world performing sold-out
concerts playing keyboards and programming computer sequences for Juan Luis Guerra & 4.40.
Hildward Croes was awarded prestigious prizes and recognitions in
his native Aruba on numerous occasions. Awards such as 'arranger of the year', 'musician of the year', 'music-man of the year',
etc. He was awarded 'musician of the decade' and received the distinguished honor of being named 'man of the year' by the
After Juan Luis Guerra retired from the music scene for a few years
in the mid 1990s, Croes chose to return to his native Aruba, where he was once again one of the most popular producers on
the island, as well as a regular performer in local shows, night-clubs, hotels and casinos.
In 1997 Hildward received a call from his old friend Chichi Peralta
who invited him to be a part of his then newly formed project: Son Familia. He met and established a strong friendship with
Chichi Peralta who was one of the main percussionist of Juan Luis Guerra & 4.40. With Chichi Peralta + Son Familia he
was once again touring the world playing sold-out concert halls and stadiums.
In 1999 Croes participated extensively as an advisor, arranger, keyboardist,
and music calligrapher in the production of the CD: De Vuelta Al Barrio, which earned them a Latin Grammy Award for best merengue
album in 2001. The live CD/DVD release En Vivo by Chichi Peralta became a huge success in France and other parts of Europe.
Croes made musical arrangements and played the accordion, piano, and keyboards on Chichi Peralta's latest release: Mas Que
Suficiente, which again earned them a Latin Grammy nomination in 2006.
Hildward directs and writes for his own Dushi Band which has become
one of the most popular local bands especially during the carnival festivities producing hit songs year after year and winning
music festivals on many occasions. He also plays the accordion with Grupo Di Betico; a typical acoustic folkloric music group
formed by Croes' family members that performs regularly at the end of each year during the holiday season. While on Aruba,
he can be found playing his heart out with local bands such as JEMM (Funk, Rock), Antonio Bello Blues (Blues, Rock), Soul
Cowboy (Nu-Jazz, Fusion), Roots Rebels (Reggae), and others.
Croes directs show and special event orchestras and has his own production
company where he continues to produce music for film, TV, radio ads, jingles, as well as CDs for artists around the Caribbean
and South America out of his home-studio: Vanilla Kingdom. He recently wrote Rumba Aruba for the Aruba Tourism Authority's
international ad campaign, and won the 2007 Aruba Carnival Roadmarch Festival with the song: Music (Music is we language!).
In his free time Hildward chooses to enjoy watersports in the Caribbean
sun and relaxes on the white sandy beaches of his native Aruba.
At the end of 2007 Hildward Croes once again received the distinguished
recognition of "Artist Of The Year" by the local media.
Participation In Bands
Chichi Peralta + Son Familia (latin, son, merengue), Dushi Band of Aruba (up-tempo caribbean dance and carnival music),
Grupo Di Betico (acoustic folkloric aruban music), Sonic Lab 297 (pop, latin, reggae, rock), JEMM (funk, soul, r&b, jazz),
Soul Cowboy (contemporary jazz), Roots Rebels (roots, reggae), Antonio Bello Blues (blues, rock), and others.
Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett,
Joe Zawinul, Dave Grusin.
Arts, movies, and water-sports.