Sunday, January 10th, 2016
The invitation to showcase American composers at the Havana Contemporary Music Festival was, quite frankly, one of the most extraordinary opportunities in the history of ACF. We have grown measurably from our early roots, and it was a great honor to present the work of ten American composers who represent such a wide range of new work. The centerpiece concert on November 17, 2015 was a veritable feast of sound. We are now back almost two months from the trip, and the memories remain as vivid as the day we left.
Three significant articles have already been written by others about the trip and the experiences (see links below). Their perspectives brilliantly capture the sights, sounds, and connections made by both composers and patrons over the course of eight days.
One feature of the tour not reported in these articles was a daily talk by leading Cuban experts in fields as diverse as US-Cuban relations, the history of Havana, Cuban Economic Policy and last but certainly not least–the roots of Cuban music. Each of them added to our understanding of the country and its unique role in world culture. Our daily diaries are also filled with great experiences at many of the wonderful paladares, or home restaurants in Havana. Aside from the ubiquitous mojitos that always help get things started, the variety of fabulous food was a delight.
As many of you know, ACF recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. There was no better way for us to capstone that milestone than this remarkable trip to a country with such a rich history of music.