This spring the Minnesota Orchestra is embracing Latin America – with a landmark trip to Cuba this week (May 13-17) and the Brazilian-themed Symphony Ball and Crash the Ball: Carnival on June 20.

Listen to live MPR broadcasts from Cuba

Be sure to tune in to the historic Minnesota Orchestra concerts broadcast live from Havana – on Classical MPR (99.5 FM in the Twin Cities or streaming online at classicalmpr.org) at 7 pm on Friday, May 15, and Saturday, May 16.  Each of the 7 pm MPR broadcasts will open with 30 minutes of pre-concert interviews, music and stories, followed by the concerts at 7:30.   More program details are online.

Osmo Vänskä will conduct the orchestra in both concerts at Havana’s Teatro Nacional, performing as part of the opening weekend of the 19th annual International Cubadisco Festival and becoming the first US orchestra to perform in Cuba since President Obama took steps to normalize relations between the countries in December.

People throughout Cuba will be able to hear the live broadcasts on Radio Taino, an FM station based in Havana.   In the US, the concerts will be distributed nationwide by MPR via American Public Media (APM); so alert your friends and family in other cities and tell them to check local public radio listings.

Follow the Orchestra’s Historic Cuba Tour

The Minnesota Orchestra will set off for Havana on Wednesday, May 13 with more than four tons of equipment and 165 individuals, including 100 members of the Orchestra.  Check out this front-page Star Tribune article about preparations for the trip.

In Havana, musicians will engage in musical exchange activities with Cuban students, including coaching sessions at the Escuela Nacional de Música (a national high school for music study) and the Instituto Superior de Arte (a university that focuses on the arts) as well as a side by side rehearsal with the 80 young members of the Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil del Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán.  The final event of the tour will be a late-night jazz collaboration between members of the Minnesota Orchestra and Cuban jazz musicians at the Havana Café, following the concert on May 16.

Check the Minnesota Orchestra website for regular photo updates and reports from the road and watch the media, both local and national, for articles on the tour.  A large press contingent (including reporters from the New York Times, Star Tribune, MPR and KSTP-TV) will be traveling to Cuba with the Orchestra.

54c2b3f0ee0423.68741729Crash the Ball: Carnival on Saturday, June 20

Did you know that there’s another option to participate in the Symphony Ball? Come to Crash the Ball: Carnival, which shares the Ball’s Brazilian theme.  Expect color, Latin rhythms and lots of excitement!

Enjoy the drinks and passed hors d’oeuvres (by Vincent’s) that are included with your ticket and browse the silent auction.  Then join Symphony Ball attendees in the concert hall for the live auction and Orchestra Concert, followed by champagne, desserts and dancing to the Danzón group, Charanga Tropical. Stay on for a late night After Party in the Target Atrium with DJ  Ackerman and enjoy music, Brazilian-themed food carts, a hosted bar, photo booths and more.   Check out the schedule online.

Crash the Ball 2015: Carnival tickets include hours of food, drink and entertainment for only $99 (of which $49 is tax deductible) if you purchase them by May 31 using code CTB99.   Regular priced tickets are $125.

Crash the Ball is part of the Symphony Ball, the Orchestra’s largest annual fundraiser.  Come “party with a purpose” on June 20 and help raise funds of the Minnesota Orchestra’s community engagement programs, including artistic initiatives and education activities.  Encourage young friends and family members to come too!

Adios – and hope to see you at the Ball!

MN Orchestra Takes off for Cuba, Comes Home to Brazil.