The National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba is on its first-ever tour of the United States
More than 70 members of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, founded in 1960, landed in the United States.
By Julie Schwietert Collazo. October 29, 2012
"It was a dream 10 years in the making," said Enrique Perez Mesa, director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, after playing for a packed house at Lehman College Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday night. "We have been thrilled by the American audience, which not only has an appreciation for the classical pieces we're playing as part of the program, but also seems to know the Cuban classics we're playing. It's very gratifying," Perez added. More than 70 members of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, founded in 1960, landed in the United States earlier this month, kicking off their historic US tour at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri. By the time they give their final US performance on November 11 at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida, the orchestra will have played a total of 21 shows for US audiences that are clearly eager to see and hear them. The general program includes an opening performance of the US and Cuban national anthems, followed by Gershwin's "Cuban Overture" and "Rhapsody in Blue." After an intermission, the performance continues with Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona's "La Comparsa" and Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5." Perez said that he and the orchestra, accompanied by acclaimed pianist Ernesto "Nachito" Herrera, adjust the program slightly depending on audience demographics and preferences; during their New York City performance, which was comprised of a primarily Latino audience, the orchestra performed a medley of Cuban favorites, including "Guantanamera" and "Manicero."
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stunned Cuban audiences at the age of twelve, performing "Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 2" with the Havana Symphony Orchestra. In the late 1990's, Nachito joined the famed ¡Cubanismo! as its lead pianist, arranger, and musical director, playing many of the worlds finest concert halls and prestigious festivals. "Explosive. Crowd Pleasing. Rhythmically intense. Romantic. Dynamic. Jaw-droppingly good" is how the Minneapolis Star-Tribune described Herrera's musicianship, a talent which, according to jazz critic and Playboy Guide To Jazz author Neil Tesser, "...vaults him into the upper echelon - a trinity comprising Chucho Valdes, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and now Nachito Herrera". Following a Winter 2009 tour as a member of The Afro Cuban All Stars, Nachito will embark on extensive worldwide touring on his own.
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Aurora Herrera / President & Productor