Cuba's record industry prepares – Cubadisco festival dedicated to choirs and orquestras this year

She explained that the programme presents concert bands, choirs, children's choirs and other vocal groups, and began with a cantata of songs perfomed in provincial theatres which have symphonic orchestras – Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Villa Clara and Matanzas, and will continue in Mayabeque, granma, Isle of Youth, Las Tunas, Ciego de Avila and Sancti Spiritus.

"There is a huge choral movement, with symphonic orquestras and municipal bands all over the country and the Gran Coral Isla Que Canta allows these genres to be seen which have less impact on popular tastes but have great value for the participants and internationally."Olivera announced that they have organised a grand finale in Havana, where vocal ensembles and orquestras from the capital will converge, amongst them the Exaudi Chamber choir, with leader María Felicia Pérez, who in the press conference was charged with presenting the 12th edition of the Chamber Music Festival directed by the pianist Frank Fernandez (18-25 April).

This year the festival is going to give homage to the world's greats: Bach, Handel, Maurice Ravel and Dimitri Shostakovich, and to the Cuban masters, Ignacio Cervantes, Edgardo Martin and Carmen Valdés.

The director of Exaudi confirmed there will be a special moment for professor Jesús Ortega, an impressive figure in the teaching of strings instruments, on his 80th birthday and for his Orquestra of Guitarras Sonantas Habaneras which celebrates 20 years since it was founded.Accordingly she said invited to the event are a group of strings from the Steans Institute of Young Artists from Ravinia, USA and the Puerto Rican violinist Francisco Cabán, member of the Symphonic Orquestra and professor at the Conservatory of Music, Puerto Rico, who will share the stage with numerous Cuban artists, amongst them Aldo López-Gavilán, Harold López-Nussa, the Chamber Orquestra of Havana, Orquesta Música Eterna, Dúo Ondina, and Sonantas Habaneras.

A special moment in the cultural life of the Cubadisco Festival will be the performance in the San Felipe Neri hall of the Exaudi Choir (Exaudi is Latin for Listen! Or Escucha!) together with the Orfeón San Juan Bautista of Puerto Rico, a group founded in 2001. They have recorded 12 albums, with a wide repertory of popular music, folkloric music and all styles since the 15th century, sacred and profane.

Maestra Maria Felicia Pérez agreed to speak about the choral movement on the island and her view on the dedication of Cubadisco 2015 to choral and symphonic music.

"In the past they have dedicated it to other formats, and choral music has a long tradition. It is important and there are two clear reasons. The training of our choir directors through middle schools and at the Higher Institute of Art (ISA), and the very high quality of our professional choirs in this country. It is an important and fair dedication. The ICM for more than 10 years has maintained a programme of development of symphonic music, choral music and of the bands. We work in advising the provincial choirs and arrange exchanges, for example choirs from other countries come and we do workshops in Cuban music. Also we work with the amateur choirs, and I believe that with the cantorias we have won a territory with the youngest children. We have the prestigious event Corhabana. All this creates a favourable climate in the country for choirs and their formation."How are the Cuban choirs positioned in the international scene? £We have an important choral movement. We celebrated in 2007 the event America Canta which is regional, and we have as I said, a professional choral movement of the highest level. In foreign competitions they are always winning awards. I think there is an international recognition of the quality of our choirs."

The Cubadisco international Festival, organised by the ICM, is a presentation of the world of recorded music in Cuba, with a commercial fair, which raises great expectations amongst musicians and the public.Its 19th edition (18-26 May), as already mentioned is dedicated to symphonic and choral music, while Russia is the country guest of honour. Its presidents of honour are the maestra Digna Guerra, director of the Cuban National Choir and the composer Guido López- Gavilán.During this major event of the Cuban record industry, in addition to presentations for the best recordings of the year in diverse categories, there are album and video launches, programmes of concerts and colloquiums and symposiums.

Link to original report in spanish