Minnesota Orchestra Live from Cuba

C6faf4 20150515 cuba osmo rehearsal
Osmo Vanska conducts at rehearsal MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

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 at 7 p.m. CDT both nights. Brian Newhouse will host the broadcasts.

May 15, 2015 8/7c: All-Beethoven

May 16, 2015 8/7c: Music by Caturla, Bernstein and Prokofiev

Follow coverage at ClassicalMPR.org/Cuba

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Program: Friday, May 15, 7 p.m. (CDT)

Teatro Nacional de Cuba, Havana, Cuba
Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vanska, conductor
Frank Fernandez, piano
Cuban National Choir
Coro Vocal Leo
Digna Guerra, direccion general de coros

BEETHOVEN: Overture to Egmont
BEETHOVEN: Fantasy in C minor for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra, Choral Fantasy
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat major, Opus 55, Eroica

Program: Saturday, May 16, 7 p.m. (CDT)

Teatro Nacional de Cuba, Havana, Cuba
Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vanska, conductor

ALEJANDRO CATURLA: Danzon
BERNSTEIN: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
PROKOFIEV: Romeo and Juliet Suite

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."

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.

"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," says host Brian Newhouse

Subject to approvals, encore broadcasts of the concerts will be announced after the orchestra and Classical MPR/APM staff return from Cuba.

In-depth stories, photos and more Cuba coverage at classicalmpr.org/cuba.

Public radio stations also carrying the concert

KUSC (Los Angeles)

WFMT (Chicago)

WABE (Atlanta)

WKCP (Miami - Classical South Florida)

KSJN (Classical MPR - Mpls./St. Paul)

WSMR (Tampa-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL)

WQED (Pittsburgh, PA)

KXPR (Sacramento, CA - Capital Public Radio)

WGUC (Cincinnati Public Radio)

WCLV (Cleveland, OH)

KCNV (Las Vegas, NV)

WNED (Buffalo, NY, Western New York Public Broadcasting)

WHRO (Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, VA)

KUCO (Oklahoma City, OK)

WPBI (West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, FL - Classical South Florida)

WVPR (Vermont Public Radio)

WXXI (Rochester, NY)

KCSC (Chico, CA)

KVNO (Omaha, NE)

C6faf4 20150515 cuba osmo rehearsal
Osmo Vanska conducts at rehearsal MPR Photo / Nate Ryan
5e9bf1 20150504 cuban flags in havana
Cuban flags in Havana Bryan Ledgard via Flickr - Creative Commons
Boarding a ship in Havana at the end of the Minneapolis Orchestra's 1929 Cuban tour: (from left) violinist and Personnel Manager Max Schellner, Music Director Henri Verbrugghen, violinist Jenny Cullen, Orchestra Manager Arthur J. Gaines, trombonist Fred Molzahn, cellist Chris Erck and violist Russell Barton.
Boarding a ship in Havana at the end of the Minneapolis Orchestra's 1929 Cuban tour: (from left) violinist and Personnel Manager Max Schellner, Music Director Henri Verbrugghen, violinist Jenny Cullen, Orchestra Manager Arthur J. Gaines, trombonist Fred Molzahn, cellist Chris Erck and violist Russell Barton. Courtesy Minnesota Orchestra
Stage managers pack the Minnesota Orchestra musicians' instruments in large wooden cases like this when the musicians travel or go on tour Monday, May 12, 2015 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.
Stage managers pack the Minnesota Orchestra musicians' instruments in large wooden cases like this when the musicians travel or go on tour Monday, May 12, 2015 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. Jennifer Simonson | MPR News