Cuba, Day 2: Education in action

Havana skyline

A few years after it got going in 1903, the Minneapolis Symphony learned that a path to community relevance took them right up to a school door. Since then, they’ve appeared in schools all across Minnesota and given countless Young Peoples Concerts at Orchestra Hall. Today that path grew a few thousand miles.

The Minnesota Orchestra dropped into two Havana music schools, playing small-ensemble concerts and then serving as workshop clinicians for the students. This passion for education is so deeply ingrained into the Orchestra’s mission now, that some players told me they were looking forward to the school visits even more than their sold-out Friday and Saturday concerts.

The kids ate it up. I loved how they filled the chairs and then stood along the walls of the classrooms to hear the Minnesota musicians. I loved how they especially whooped after a wild Piazzolla wind quintet. I loved how you could hear their tone waver with nervousness as they started playing for the pros, and then with the gentle coaching and encouraging, the tone got stronger, surer. Education in action. Thing of beauty.

Photos by Nate Ryan

Boarding the bus

Students at "Music City"

"Music City" students perform. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan


"Music City" hallway. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

Manny Laureano and ensemble

Brass ensemble and students

Piano and trumpet. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

French horn student

Music teacher

French horn instruction

Horn instruction

Wind ensemble

Flutist Wendy Williams

Cubadisco panel discussion MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

Osmo interview

Osmo Vänskä gives an interview.

Outside the Teatro Nacional

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