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Osmo Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra to Perform in Cuba at the International Cubadisco Festival in May

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Feb 13, 2015 11:09 PM EST

In light of the nation's newfound friendship with Cuba, the Minnesota Orchestra announced Thursday that it would travel to Havana to play two concerts in May. This would be the first major American orchestra to play there since President Obama normalized relations with the estranged nation.

But as The New York Times indicates, it will be a return engagement of sorts — meaning the orchestra played there on tour in 1929 and 1930 when it was known as the Minneapolis Symphony.

As has been reported earlier, the Minnesota Orchestra recently was recently ensnared in a withering labor battle, which resulted in a vicious 16-month lockout due to its lofty ambitions. This sojourn to Cuba, thus, should comes as a symbol of the recovering company.

The orchestra said that it also had been invited by the Cuban Ministry of Culture to perform at a music festival in May.

Orchestra president Kevin Smith said in a statement, "Our musicians have embraced the possibility of giving these performances with great flexibility on a short time scale and offered to postpone a vacation week in order to take advantage of an incredible opportunity."

The performances, coming on May 15 and 16, will be led by music director Osmo Vanska and will come as part of Havana's International Cubadisco Festival and will feature the Beethvoen Choral Fantasy with the Cuban National Choir.

Cuban pianist Frank Fernandez will also be featured, the Orchestra said on Thursday.

So until then, catch the orchestra below.

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TagsMinnesota Orchestra, Osmoa Vanska, Cuban Ministry of Culture, Kevin Smith, Cuban National Choir, President Obama, International Cubadisco Festival, Beethoven Choral Fantasy, lockout, Havana

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