PROFESSIONALIZATION HAVANA LYCEUM ORCHESTRA
Ever since the Cuban-European Youth Academy has been founded, many musicians have been supported through masterclasses, transatlantic orchestra projects or postgraduate study courses. One of the main aims of the CuE has alway been to build perspectives for young Cuban musicians in their own country. Many of the CuE participants have already been playing together in the Havana Lyceum Orchestra during their studies. The orchestra is directed by the young Cuban conductor José Antonio Méndez Padrón. It rehearses and performs in the historical centre of Havana at the Lyceum Mozartiano de la Habana, an independent cultural institution which is working closely together with the Music University of Havana (ISA) and the Oficina del Historiador of Dr. Eusebio Leal and which has been founded through the initiative and long-term support of the Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg in 2009. Once founded as a youth orchestra, the Havana Lyceum Orchestra now counts among the leading ensembles of the country. Despite the excellent artistic quality, the musicians have however played without receiving any fee for many years.
Thanks to the financial support of the donor Klaus Engel an important step could be made in 2018: The Orchestra is now working like an independent, private orchestra. The musicians are receiving a fee for the projects, and they have inaugurated a series with monthly concerts in Havana. The orchestra is already very popular in Cuba and it is regularly working with international conductors and soloists. This private financial support is meant as an start-up financing for three years. At the same time, the orchestra is working on developing further sources of funding, e.g. through CD recordings and tours.
TOUR 2020: MOZART & MAMBO
The orchestra has been working closely together with Sarah Willis for several years. In 2017, the solo horn player of the Berlin Philharmonic travelled to Cuba for the first time and fell in love with the country and its musicians. She then initiated the project „Mozart & Mambo“, including a CD production in winter 2019/2020 which was accompanied by a tv documentary for Deutsche Welle and Unitel. The CD is going to be released by Alpha Classics on 10 July 2020.
With the support of the Göhde Foundation and the Goethe Institute a tour through Europe was planned for July 2020. All tour revenues were supposed to benefit the orchestra. The musicians would have been able to present the Havana Lyceum Orchestra as a professional orchestra beyond all exotic clichés at renowned venues in Europe (Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Rheingau Musik Festival, Young Euro Classic, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg, among others). Unfortunately, the tour had to be cancelled due to the corona pandemic.