All posts by Nate Ryan

Photos: Minnesota Orchestra’s final 24 hours in Havana

Osmo Vänksä

The Minnesota Orchestra closed out their whirlwind tour of Havana Saturday night with an awe-inspiring performance of both the Cuban and American national anthems. Classical MPR’s Brian Newhouse writes, “‘Burst into song’ is cliché, but that is exactly what happened, a mix of shock and joy on those faces. An American orchestra playing the Cuban National Anthem? While the roar of applause afterward was still going, the Orchestra went right into the Star-Spangled Banner. That’s when the tears began. The Cubans didn’t know the words, of course, but they instantly knew the music, and the symbolism of playing the two anthems back-to-back.”

While the trip was so intently focused on music — both in terms of outreach and education — as well as performance, it’s important to get a final tour of the surrounding area. Photographer Nate Ryan captured the scenes, the performances, and the after-hours fun before the members of the Orchestra boarded their charter back home.

Saturday morning around Havana

Residents of Havana on the street as a pedicab goes by.

Mural of Che Guevara. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

Broadcast engineer Johnny Vince Evans riding in a Desoto convertible.

The Havana skyline.

Desoto convertible dashboard.

Driving down the Malecón.

A woman smokes outside of a small restaurant.

Banyan tree.

Palm trees line the road in Havana.

Havana apartment building.

Hotel Cohiba outdoor lunch.

Motorcycles and travel cases.

Havana street scene.

A coconut drink on a sunny Saturday in Havana, Cuba.

Live performance at Teatro Nacional de Cuba

Featuring performances of the Cuban national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, and pieces by Caturla, Bernstein and Prokofiev.

A musician reviews the score before the May 16th performance

Trombonist warming up

Anthony Ross applies rosin to his bow.

View from the Teatro Nacional de Cuba

Sculptures outside the plaza

Guests dropped off in front of the theater.

A quick candid snap of rehearsal.

Osmo Vänskä takes a bow.

The audience, already standing for the Cuban national anthem, applauds.

The Minnesota Orchestra perform The Star Spangled Banner

A view from the strings section.

Tubaist Steven Campbell.

Trumpet player Manny Laureano.

The woodwinds section of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Osmo Vänskä viewed from behind the harps.

Osmo Vänksä

The audience rises to their feet for the first of several ovations.

Osmo Vänskä reacts to the audience's applause.

The Minnesota Orchestra bows as the audience gives them another standing ovation.

Post-concert at Café Habana

Musicians Kate Nettleman and Manny Laureano talk on the way to Habana Cafe.

Walking up the stairs at Habana Cafe.

Minnesota Orchestra musicians arrive at Habana Cafe.

Osmo Vänskä joined a jazz ensemble, playing his clarinet.

Osmo Vänskä playing clarinet on stage at Habana Cafe

Osmo Vänskä performs with a Cuban jazz ensemble. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

The Habana Cafe.

Dancers on stage

The trip home

Minnesota Orchestra board the Delta charter back to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Family and fans await the return of the Minnesota Orchestra and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The musicians arrive through customs.

A warm welcome from fans at MSP.

Complete coverage can be found at classicalmpr.org/cuba

Photos: Minnesota Orchestra perform at Teatro Nacional in Havana, Cuba

The Minnesota Orchestra onstage at the Cuban National Theater, Osmo Vänskä conducting. Joined in Beethoven's Choral Fantasy by Cuban pianist Frank Fernandez; and the Coro Nacional de Cuba and Coro Vocal Leo.

The Minnesota Orchestra played to a packed house in Havana last night for the first concert of its historic tour. The all-Beethoven program received repeated standing ovations.

After the concert, French horn student Arletto Juarez explained that a U.S. orchestra is unlike anything she’s heard.

“Ah, [it] was amazing. Here the sound was different, here in Cuba we don’t have that sound.”

Tonight, the orchestra will perform a final concert that will be broadcast live across Cuba and can be heard starting at 7 p.m. on Classical Minnesota Public Radio.

After Saturday’s concert, some orchestra members will sit in on a jam session at a Cuban jazz club.

Media set up for the performance

Theater lobby

Host Brian Newhouse, Director of Operations, Rob Byers, Managing Producer Brad Althoff and Technical Director Michael Osbourne.

Teatro Nacional de Cuba

Teatro Nacional exterior

Outside Teatro Nacional

View from the Teatro Nacional

Inside the broadcast booth at the Teatro Nacional.

Minnesota Orchestra takes a bow

Osmo Vänskä thanks the Cuban audience.

Taking a bow.

The Minnesota Orchestra on stage in Havana

The Minnesota Orchestra onstage at the Cuban National Theater, Osmo Vänskä conducting.

Performing an all-Beethoven concert, Osmo Vänskä conducts the Minnesota Orchestra.

Osmo Vänskä conducting the Minnesota Orchestra

Osmo Vänskä conducting the Minnesota Orchestra

Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra musicians on stage.

Osmo Vänskä prepares the Minnesota Orchestra musicians.

Osmo Vänskä returns to the stage

Audience members

The Minnesota Orchestra onstage at the Cuban National Theater

The Minnesota Orchestra onstage

More photos and coverage can be found at ClassicalMPR.org/Cuba

Photos: Rehearsing with Orquesta Sinfonica Juvenil

Teatro Nacional de Cuba, the venue for the historic concerts.

Part of the Minnesota Orchestra’s goal in coming to Cuba was to participate in a couple of musical cultural exchanges. On Thursday, the orchestra went to “Music City” to work with high school and college-age musicians. On Friday, the musicians returned to Teatro Nacional de Cuba — the scene of last night’s rehearsal — and the venue for this weekend’s broadcasts. This time, they were rehearsing side-by-side with Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil del Conservatorio Amadeo Rold​án, a Cuban youth symphony.

Kate Nettleman is a string bass player with the orchestra. She says her Spanish isn’t strong, but there are times in Havana when that doesn’t matter.

“When we sit together and play music sharing a stand with these students, there’s tremendous communcation. And there’s so much that’s shared in common that we undertsand without having to say a word and that’s what music is – is a language that everyone can connect through.”

The Minnesota Orchestra will return to the same stage tonight for the first of two concerts from the Teatro Nacional in Havana. Listen live at 7 p.m. CDT both nights.

A flutist from the Cuban National Symphony and Wendy Williams of the Minnesota Orchestra

Cuban National Youth Orchestra

Osmo shares notes with Minnesota Orchestra

Combined orchestras

Oboist from the National Cuban Youth Symphony

Osmo's back!

Global language - Bass

Osmo Vänskä

David Williamson from the Minnesota Orchestra

Rehearsing with the Cuban National Youth Symphony

Kevin Watkins from Minnesota Orchestra compares tambourine notes

Teatro Nacional de Cuba, the venue for the historic concerts.

Cellist Anthony Ross and the Cuban National Youth Symphony

Photos: 13 breathtaking scenes from Havana

Sunrise over Havana

On May 15th, photographer Nate Ryan embarked on a short tour of the city with patrons of the Minnesota Orchestra. The tour bus navigated through the streets of Havana, brought the tour to a seafood restaurant for lunch, and to the famed cigar manufacturer Cuesta-Rey. More photos can be found at classicalmpr.org/cuba.

Misty sunrise over Havana

View from The Melia Cohiba Hotel

Tour for supporters of the Minnesota Orchestra on the trip

Street scene, Havana, Cuba

Classic cars

A seafood lunch with Minnesota Orchestra musicians.

Kids hanging out in the afternoon sun.

Life in Havana

Teal car on the street in Havana.

Street view in Havana.

A horse-drawn carriage in front of Cuesta-Rey.

Cigar manufacturer Cuesta Rey & Co.

More photos can be found at classicalmpr.org/cuba

Photos: Minnesota Orchestra rehearsal and Cuban nightlife

Osmo Vänskä

The Minnesota Orchestra topped a day visiting “Music city,” a concentrated school for high school and college-age musicians, by getting comfortable in the Teatro Nacional de Cuba, the venue for tonight and tomorrow’s concerts.

After a rigorous rehearsal, Osmo Vänskä released the musicians, who enjoyed a meal in Plaza de la Catedral in old Havana, Cuba and then went out to enjoy a bit of Havana nightlife.

Photos by Nate Ryan

Rehearsal music stand

Strings rehearsal

Sheet music at rehearsal MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

Concertmaster Erin Keefe leads the violinists. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

Violinist Cecilia Belcher MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

Full rehearsal

Osmo conducts in rehearsal

Osmo conducts rehearsal in Havana. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

The Minnesota Orchestra rehearses

Osmo Vänskä MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

Minnesota Orchestra at Teatro Nacional de Cuba, Havana, Cuba

Orchestra rehearsal at Teatro Nacional de Cuba,

Piano rehearsal

Cuban National Choir

Osmo Vänsä

Teatro Nacional de Cuba

View from the seats

Travel crates

The Melia Cohiba hotel where the Minnesota Orchestra is staying

Classic car

Swimming

City from beach point of view

Swimmers

A classic American car drives along the Malecón along the coast of Havana Cuba.

Pedicab ride

Pedicab driver at dusk in old Havana, Cuba

A small bar in old Havana, Cuba.

Dinner in the plaza

Dinner in the plaza

Mojitos

The streets of old Havana, Cuba.

Old Havana, Cuba

Septeto Habanero

Septeto Habanero

Dancing

Bartender

More photos and broadcast information at classicalmpr.org/cuba

Photos: Minnesota Orchestra takes flight to Havana, Cuba

The Minnesota Orchestra's departure to Havana Cuba. Minneapolis Saint Paul Airport. May 13th, 2015. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

The members of the Minnesota Orchestra — and our friends in the media — got an early start for the Minnesota Orchestra’s landmark trip to Cuba today. After months of preparation, the musicians enjoyed a champagne toast aboard the plane before touching down and getting their first glimpse of Havana.

Classical Minnesota Public Radio will broadcast two distinct, live historic performances by Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra from Havana, Cuba, on May 15 and 16 at 7 p.m. CDT both nights. (Details)

Channel  45 TV reporting on MN Orchestra's departure to Havana, Cuba from the Minneapolis Saint Paul Airport. May 13th, 2015. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

The Minnesota Orchestra's departure to Havana Cuba. Minneapolis Saint Paul Airport. May 13th, 2015. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Waiting to board the chartered flight to Havana Cuba. Minneapolis Saint Paul Airport. May 13th, 2015. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

The Minnesota Orchestra's flight was a direct charter to Havana, Cuba. May 13th, 2015. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

On board the Minnesota Orchestra's chartered flight to Havana Cuba.  May 13th, 2015. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

A champagne toast. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Orchestra president Kevin Smith (left), guests of the orchestra and musicians enjoy a champagne toast en route to Havana. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Orchestra musicians celebrate months of preparation with a champagne toast. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Orchestra president Kevin Smith and Classical Movements tour company director Johan van Zyl. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Music Director Osmo Vanska settling down for the flight to Havana Cuba.  MPR photo by Nate Ryan

View from the sky. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Landing in Havana. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Deplaning. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Minnesota Orchestra on the ground in Havana, Cuba. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Osmo Vanska, Erin Keefe and the Minnesota Orchestra pose for a photo on the tarmac. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Airport arrivals. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

José Martí International Airport. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Boarding the bus to the hotel. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Motorcycles at the airport exit. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Classic cars in Cuba. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Cars in Cuba. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Music Director Osmo Vanska and MPR's Brian Newhouse. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Che Guevara sculpture on building edifice. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Cuban flag. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Classic cars are everywhere. MPR photo by Nate Ryan

Streets of Havana. MPR photo by Nate Ryan