I’m thrilled this week to be reading of a special tour The Minnesota Orchestra is currently undertaking. The ensemble has, as of yesterday, become the first American symphony to travel to Cuba since the lifting of the travel ban recently. I have always loved goodwill diplomacy of the type musicians and athletes are sometimes able to accomplish. Something about using the passions that all cultures share – music, athletics – to get together and have a good time is so appealing to me. Whatever our differences as humans, we are fundamentally the same, anywhere you go.
The Orchestra will give two concerts – the first tonight, featuring a Beethoven program, and the second tomorrow night, featuring music from West Side Story and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Both will be simulcast on the Minneapolis NPR affiliate, or via webcast at classicalmpr.org (Minnesota Public Radio). In addition to the two performances, The Minnesota Orchestra’s site reports other exchanges happening – one of the loveliest is that the Orchestra will engage in a “two-hour side by side rehearsal, sharing stands, music and experiences” with a youth orchestra – Orquesta Sinfonica Juvenil Amadeo Roldán.
Marilyn Carlson Nelson is the benefactor funding the trip for the Orchestra. Do visit their website blog on the Cuba project, where you’ll find more information and photos of the type I’ve included here. Thanks also to the New York Times for making me aware of the excursion. I hadn’t known of the Orchestra prior to learning of this trip, but they’ve been around since the early 1900s, first as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. The still Minneapolis-based group netted its first Grammy last year for a recording of Sibelius 1 and 4.
Thanks for reading.