Young American and Cuban classical musicians team up for first collaborative concert

Apollo Chamber Players, first U.S. chamber ensemble to record and perform in Cuba in 50 years returns to Houston

HOUSTON ─ Cuba TV reporter Maritza Rodriguez Cardenas arrived at Abdula Recording Studio in Havana, Cuba on January 16 to interview Matthew Detrick, director and violinist of Apollo Chamber Players from the United States and Leonardo Perez, director of the of the Cuarteto Amandeo Roldan National Philharmonic of Cuba. She was there to document the first collaborative U.S. and Cuba recording session on January 16 and the upcoming concert to be performed at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana in over 50 years by a chamber music ensemble on January 20.

Here is footage of the Cuba TV report

Houston’s Apollo Chamber Players, an internationally-acclaimed chamber music ensemble on the cutting edge of creative, programmatic performance and the commissioning of new music, was the first American chamber music ensemble to perform and record in Cuba since the embargo was lifted.

Detrick, a graduate of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, said, “We traveled to Cuba with the hope of using our music as a bridge to transcend political and cultural differences.”

Not only did Apollo make history as the first American chamber music ensemble to record and perform in Cuba, it was also the first to share the stage with a Cuban string quartet in a collaborative, cross-cultural concert coordinated by the Ministry of Culture and Cuban Arts Institute.

“The joint concert was an important and historic one, not just for the world of music but globally profound. Our hope is that through our music, we’ve helped pave the way for future collaboration, mutual respect and friendship,” stated Detrick.

Apollo traveled to Havana, Cuba under the auspices of Parma Recordings to record its most recent 20×2020 commission, Imágenes de Cuba by Rice University faculty composer Arthur Gottschalk. An album featuring music from the recording sessions will be released in late 2017 on the Parma Records label.

Recording sessions took place at the world-class Abdala Studios in Havana and included collaborations with Cuban musicians including Adel Gonzales, a percussionist who performs with Chucho Valdes’ band. Abdala Studios has been the recording home of numerous acclaimed Cuban musicians such as Omara, Diva of the Buena Vista Social Club and Silvio Rodriguez, Grammy-winning folk music singer.

Anabel Ramirez, Apollo Chamber Players violinist said, “The Cuban Cuartero Amandeo Roldan musicians we collaborated with were fantastic and inspiring. We learned so much from the Cuban energy and emotion they breathed into every note.”

The Cuarteto Amandeo Roldan of the National Philharmonic of Cuba was founded in 2002. The quartet was created with the mission to showcase more chamber music art in Cuba.

About Apollo Chamber Players Apollo Chamber Players sees a unique opportunity to challenge the traditional notions of classical chamber music presentation and audience engagement by highlighting the rich cultural influences and folkloric traditions of various world cultures. Apollo achieves its mission through thematically programmed concerts; educational, community and touring initiatives; collaborations; and the creation and commissioning of new music.

The Katy News, February 17, 2017

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