The rich culture found in the city of New Orleans is comprised of multiple international influences that have come together to form the unique fabric for which the city is known. One such influence comes to us from Cuba. The Latin-American country has deep roots here, so much so that the city erected a statue of famed Cuban poet/writer Jose Marti on the neutral ground at the intersection of South Jefferson Davis Parkway and Banks Street. Now, Cuba’s music and its connection to the Crescent City will be highlighted thanks to the upcoming “From Cuba to New Orleans” celebration taking place September 26-29.
Sponsored by The Historic New Orleans Collection, the Musical Arts Society of New Orleans, and the National Park Service, the celebration will consist of three programs that will pay tribute to the music of Cuba. Each event will feature world-renowned Russian-American pianist Alexandra Moutouzkine, whose Piano Music of Cuba, a CD of 20th-century Cuban compositions, was released earlier this year.
The series kicks off Tuesday, September 26 at 6:30 p.m. with The Historic New Orleans Collection’s annual Francisco Bouligny Lecture. Held at Williams Research Center (410 Chartres Street), the event will feature a solo recital in which Moutouzkine will perform selections from Piano Music of Cuba. While it is free and open to the public, reservations are recommended and can be made at [email protected] or (504)523-4662.
The second event in the series is “Flavors of Cuba,” held Wednesday, September 27 at L’Entrepot (527 Julia Street). Presented by The Musical Arts Society, attendees will be treated to culinary delights from Carmo Restaurant while enjoying the sounds of Moutouzkine and violinist Chloé Kiffer. Tickets for the event are $40 and include food and can be purchased here or (504)899-4826. A cash bar will be available.
On Thursday, September 28, from 1:30-3:30 p.m., Moutouzkine will lead a master class in New Orleans Center for Creative Arts’ Lupin Lobby (2800 Chartres Street). Held in partnership between the Steinway Society and MASNO, “A Piano Afternoon at NOCCA” will feature the distinguished pianist sharing his experiences with NOCCA students. This event is free and open to the public.
Lastly, the celebration concludes on Friday, September 29 when the National Park Service presents “Keyboard Connections: Havana, New Orleans, and Music in the 1800s” at noon at the Old U.S. Mint (400 Esplanade Avenue). Alfred E. Lemmon, director of THNOC’s Wiliams Research Center, will discuss the early musical connection between New Orleans and Cuba while Moutouzkine performs a live accompaniment.
Ivory Jones, off Beat Magazine
September 14, 2017