El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, commonly known as El
Gran Combo, is a Puerto Rican Salsa music orchestra. It
is Puerto Rico's most successful musical group, and one
of Salsa's most famous recording and performing artists
across Latin America.
Since many of the genre's legendary singers have been
members of the orchestra, the band has been given the
moniker La Universidad de la Salsa (The University of
Salsa). El Gran Combo was founded by Rafael Ithier in
May of 1962. Ithier is still, in 2010, the orchestra's pianist
and musical director.
Rafael Ithier had been a member of Rafael Cortijo's
"Combo" orchestra, travelling to the eastern United
States before forming El Gran Combo