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LIVESTREAM: Minnesota Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä Broadcast Beethoven, Bernstein, Alejandro García Caturla from Cuba [LISTEN]

By K. Young k.young@classicalite.com on May 15, 2015 02:17 AM EDT

Classicalite reported back in February that Grammy-winning maestro Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra would be performing this month in Cuba at the International Cubadisco Festival.

Well, it's finally here! OK, so almost...

Since POTUS Barack Obama made the first steps to "normalize" America's relationship with its neighbor Cuba, the Minnesota Orchestra will indeed be the first professional U.S. band to perform in Cuba this century--make that millennium (as the last to do was the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in 1999).

When Vänskä and Minnesota perform two concerts at Havan's historic Teatro Nacional later this week on Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16, listeners throughout Cuba, Minnesota and the U.S. will have an opportunity to hear the performances via Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media.

This will mark the first time the Minnesota Orchestra has performed in Cuba since 1930--long before Cuba and Castro. Additionally, thanks to the fine folks at Shuman Associates Inc., delayed broadcasting will be available via European Broadcasting Union.

Twin residents of Minneapolis/St. Paul can tune in to Classical Minnesota Public Radio statewide at 7:00 p.m. CDT on May 15 and May 16 to hear the live broadcasts. Each broadcast will open with 30 minutes of pre-concert interviews, music and stories, followed by the concerts themselves at 7:30 p.m. Classical MPR can be heard in the Twin Cities on KSJN 99.5 FM.

A complete list of Classical MPR stations can be accessed at ClassicalMPR.org.

The opening concert at the Teatro Nacional features Vänskä conducting the orchestra in an all-Beethoven program, including the Egmont Overture, the ode to Napoleon that is Symphony No. 3's "Eroica" and the grand Choral Fantasy. That final piece will feature the Cuban pianist Frank Fernández, vocal soloists and a large chorus combining the Cuban National Choir and Coro Vocal Leo.

Saturday night's performance will feature Cuban composer Alejandro García Caturla, Bernstein's "Symphonic Dances" from West Side Story and Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet Suite, all, of course, conducted by Vänskä.

Vänskä is happy to bring the two cultures, saying "together through music...and the fact that we will now be able to share these concerts with listeners at home in Minnesota, throughout the U.S. and across Cuba via MPR and Radio Taino makes the experience even richer."

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TagsOsmo Vänskä, Minnesota Orchestra, International Cubadisco Festival, Beethoven, Bernstein, Livestream

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