Classical Minnesota Public Radio will broadcast two live, historic performances by Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra from the Teatro Nacional in Havana, Cuba, on May 15 and 16. Brian Newhouse will host the broadcasts.
In addition to the concert broadcasts, MPR News arts reporter Euan Kerr will send reports and multimedia producer Nate Ryan will provide photos of the historic visit, which will be posted to Classical MPR’s website, along with blog posts by freelance musician Rena Kraut, who will be traveling and performing with the orchestra.
The Minnesota Orchestra will perform as part of the opening weekend of the 19th annual International Cubadisco Festival, becoming the first U.S. orchestra to perform in Cuba since the Milwaukee Orchestra performed there in 1999. The Minnesota Orchestra last performed in Cuba during tours in 1929 and 1930.
During the Friday concert, Vänskä will lead the Minnesota Orchestra in a concert of Beethoven masterworks that will prominently feature Cuban artists. In addition to Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Eroica Symphony, they’ll be joined by the Cuban National Choir, Coro Vocal Leo and pianist Frank Fernandez for Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy.
The concert on Saturday includes the unforgettably Mediterranean melodies that comprise Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story as well as Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet Suite.
“I know the concerts are going to be something really exceptional,” Vänksä recently told MPR News host Tom Crann. “We are going to be the ambassadors, going to Havana and playing as the first North American orchestra since President Obama changed the rules.”
Audiences can tune in to Classical MPR or stream on classicalmpr.org starting at at 7 p.m. Central on May 15 and 16 to hear the live broadcasts. The broadcast is possible through a technical collaboration with partners both in Cuba and locally in Minnesota. People in Cuba can listen to the broadcasts on Radio Taino, a national FM station based in Havana.
“It’s our goal to be the ears for Minnesota audiences, all of whom are justifiably proud that ‘their orchestra,’ the Minnesota Orchestra, was selected among many to be the first American orchestra to perform in Cuba in many years,” Brian Newhouse says. “The Minnesota Orchestra is making history, and our broadcast team will do likewise, sending what we believe to be the first live music concert broadcast from Cuba to the U.S. We’re honored and thrilled to do so.”
Encore broadcasts of the concerts will be announced after the orchestra and Classical MPR staff return to Minnesota.
classical MPR, May 5, 2015