SPAC and Skidmore College welcome Cuban orchestra in June

SPAC and Skidmore College welcome Cuban orchestra in June

The last time a large Cuban orchestra toured the United States was before the Revolution. Now, in the changed political climate that has resulted since former President Barack Obama visited and opened relations with Cuba, the Havana Lyceum Orchestra is coming to America–and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and Skidmore College have partnered to bring them, and acclaimed pianist Simone Dinnerstein, to the Arthur Zankel Music Center on June 20 at 7 PM.

Under the direction of José Antonio Méndez Padrón, the orchestra will team with Simone Dinnerstein to present Mozart in Havana, a program featuring Mozart’s piano concertos number 21 and 23. (Mozart in Havana is also an album released today by Sony Classical.)

When Dinnerstein (below) visited Cuba in 2015, it was the first time she played with the young musicians. On her return, she told NPR that despite their problems with inferior equipment, “It turns out that they’re really being beautifully trained there, and it was a real joy to play Mozart with them. The people in the orchestra were ages, I think, 15 to 25, and they just played so beautifully.”


SPAC’s collaboration with Skidmore College follows on their recently announced partnership with Saratoga’s legendary folk club Caffe Lena. According to the press release, this “marks a continuation of SPAC’s commitment to bringing together a network of cultural institutions in the region.”

SPAC president and CEO Elizabeth Sobol explained the choice of venue in the official announcement: “While the SPAC Amphitheater Stage is too large – and the Spa Little Theatre stage too small – the Arthur Zankel Music Center at Skidmore College is perfect in size and acoustics for showcasing these incredible classical musicians.”

Mozart in Havana tickets are available here;  just scroll down to the event and click.

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