The orchestra last performed in Havana in 1929


The Minnesota Orchestra is to be the first major American orchestra to perform in Havana since President Obama ordered the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba. The two nations had been locked in a political stalemate for over half a century following the Cold War Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The orchestra, then known as the Minneapolis Symphony, last played in Cuba on tour in 1929 and 1930.

The concerts, conducted by the orchestra’s music director, Osmo Vänskä, will be held at the Teatro Nacional on 15 and 16 May 2015, as part the annual International Cubadisco fesitval. The orchestra will perform Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Cuban National Choir and the composer’s Symphony no. 3, which it played during its 1929 visit to Cuba .

‘It will be the Minnesota Orchestra’s privilege to perform for audiences in Havana, said Kevin Smith, the orchestra’s president and chief executive officer.

Photo: Greg Helgeson

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