Photos: Minnesota Orchestra’s final 24 hours in Havana

The Minnesota Orchestra closed out their whirlwind tour of Havana Saturday night with an awe-inspiring performance of both the Cuban and American national anthems. Classical MPR's Brian Newhouse writes, "'Burst into song' is cliché, but that is exactly what happened, a mix of shock and joy on those faces. An American orchestra playing the Cuban National Anthem? While the roar of applause afterward was still going, the Orchestra went right into the Star-Spangled Banner. That’s when the tears began. The Cubans didn’t know the words, of course, but they instantly knew the music, and the symbolism of playing the two anthems back-to-back."

While the trip was so intently focused on music — both in terms of outreach and education — as well as performance, it's important to get a final tour of the surrounding area. Photographer Nate Ryan captured the scenes, the performances, and the after-hours fun before the members of the Orchestra boarded their charter back home.

Saturday morning around Havana

Street 2
Mural of Che Guevara. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan
Street 3
Broadcast engineer Johnny Vince Evans riding in a Desoto convertible. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan
Street 9
Banyan tree in Cuba. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan
Street 10
Palm trees line the road in Havana. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan
Street 11
Havana apartment building. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan
Street 14
Havana street scene. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

Live performance at Teatro Nacional de Cuba

Featuring performances of the Cuban national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, and pieces by Caturla, Bernstein and Prokofiev.

Performance 2
Bass trombonist Andrew Chappell warming up before the May 16th concert. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan
Performance 5
A view from the Teatro Nacional de Cuba. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan
Performance 6
Guests dropped off in front of the theater. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan
Performance 7
A quick candid snap of rehearsal. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan.
Performance 8
Osmo Vänskä takes a bow while concertmaster Erin Keefe looks on. MPR photo / Nate Ryan
Performance 9
The Minnesota Orchestra perform The Star Spangled Banner. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan
Performance 10
A view from the strings section. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan
Performance 11
Tubaist Steven Campbell. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan
Performance 12
Trumpet player Manny Laureano. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan
Performance 16
Osmo Vänksä. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan
Performance 19
The Minnesota Orchestra bows as the audience gives them another standing ovation. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

Post-concert at Café Habana

Habana Cafe 2
Habanera Cafe 0 (lead Osmo)
Habana Cafe 4
Habana Cafe 5

The trip home

Return 3
The musicians arrive through customs. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan
Return 4
A warm welcome from fans at MSP. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

Complete coverage can be found at

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