Students from Cuba to visit NU in cultural exchange, performance

NUNorthwestern will host visiting students from Cuba on Nov. 11 as part of a cultural exchange between the Bienen School of Music and music students from the Universidad de las Artes.

The students from Havana, Cuba, will arrive that morning with administrators and faculty from their university. In Evanston, NU students and the visiting students will perform in a mini-recital and panel discussion in the new Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts. The event will be closed to the public.

Among the delegates are the Cuban university’s president and a government official in Fidel Castro’s administration, Rolando Gonzalez Patricio.

Havana-born Communication Prof. Henry Godinez will moderate the discussion. Godinez is also an artistic associate of the Latino Theatre Festival at the Goodman Theatre, which features a series of plays about the Latino experience.

The students will also receive a tour of the campus from NU director of international program development Devora Grynspan.

Chicago jazz musician Orbert Davis (Bienen ’97) initiated the idea for this cultural exchange. Davis, a trumpeter, will bring the 36 students from Cuba to perform alongside professional musicians in the Nov. 13 U.S. premiere of his Chicago Jazz Philharmonic concert: “Scenes from Life: Cuba!”

Davis said in a news release that this musical collaboration will contribute to long-term diplomacy between Cuba and the U.S.

“The scope of this project extends beyond the November concert,” Davis said in the news release. “We are developing a relationship that will strengthen the ties between our two countries and help bridge cultural and political differences.”

Evanston Band and Orchestra owner Kerry Griffith will underwrite any purchases from the visiting students, who will be making a stop by the music store, 4125 Main St., that day.

“Music builds bridges,” Griffith said in the news release. “It’s better to build bridges than walls.”

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