“The Minnesota Orchestra will be the first U.S. orchestra to perform in Cuba, beating out several major rivals for the honor, following President Obama’s bid to normalize relations,” reports Graydon Royce in Thursday’s (2/12) Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “CEO and President Kevin Smith told musicians shortly before a Thursday morning concert that the ensemble would play two concerts at the Cubadisco Festival in mid-May. … The tour continues a string of positive news for the orchestra, which is in its first full season back after a 16-month lockout and a few years of severe budget deficits. ‘If this doesn’t show the world that we’re roaring back on the world stage, nothing does,’ said Doug Wright, principal trombone and labor bargainer. … Musicians agreed to push back a scheduled week of vacation in May to play the festival. … The orchestra will play Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, the ‘Eroica’ … Also on the program is Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Cuban National Choir and Cuban pianist Frank Fernández. The itinerary calls for the orchestra to travel on May 13, have a day to rehearse, perform on the 15th and 16th and return to Minnesota the following day. Also planned are community engagement projects in Havana. … Classical Movements, a Virginia-based company, handled discussions with Cuba on behalf of the orchestra.”

Posted February 13, 2015