On October 9, piano stars Lang Lang of China, and Cuban Chucho Valdés will combine their talents in what promises to be a fiery musical extravaganza in Havana.
Cultural communicator and organizer Eric Latzky, told The Havana Reporter that the artists had met last year in Vienna. He added that “they were both there to give presentations and after a casual encounter and playing a bit of jazz in private, they decided that they would like to do a concert together. The concert in Havana will be their first public performance, and I understand that both are very excited about the prospect.
The New York Times has described Lang Lang as the greatest artist on Earth and he is included in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. If a picture can paint a thousand words, this 30 year old Chinese man has a pretty “cool” image, wearing sneakers, bright colored jackets with his hair spiked like a sea urchin.
In this attire he plays Liszt, Mozart, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff with what even the harshest of critics have described as “astounding and passionate virtuosity”, something he shares with the Havana born and 8 time Grammy winner Cuban jazz musician, in whose native city the concert will be held as part of the 500th foundation anniversary celebrations.
Latzky, who along with other members of the concert production crew, who recently spent a few days in Havana to look over the Plaza de la Catedral --selected as the venue for the event -- is a U.S. national, said that “music is important in Havana and we have many cultural interests in common with our near neighbor.”
“Having visited the city a number of times now it has been, on a personal level, my dream to build musical bridges. In the new context of dialogue and openness, the time feels right for an international co operational concert. The Cuban Institute of Music and its president Orlando Vistel Columbié have been excellent partners in the enterprise.”
He preferred to reveal almost nothing in advance about the repertoire, but he did respond most enthusiastically when asked if the Cuban public might hear some local numbers.
Each artist has put together a list of pieces they propose to perform, based on which the current Baltimore Symphony Orchestra conductor, North American violinist Marin Alsop -- who will conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra for the concert -- will decide the final concert program.
Latsky describes the event as “a festive occasion”. Even though he met Chucho Valdés in person for the first time last March, he has loved his music for a long time, as has the concert’s co-producer and CAMI Music New York president Jean-Jacques Cesbron, who has worked with the Cuban musician for some years.
For now, it is a question of waiting until early October to witness the presentation of a complex, but nonetheless enthusiastically prepared gift.
He explained that their plan is “simply to create a beautiful concert for the Cuban people to celebrate the forthcoming 500th anniversary of the foundation of Havana, in the very special surroundings of Old Havana’s Cathedral Plaza, featuring world class artists Marin Alsop and the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba with Lang Lang and Chucho Valdés.
The Colombian press has reported that Lang has introduced the unadulterated enjoyment of classical music to audiences who always thought it boring.
Dionisio de Jesús Valdés Rodríguez – better known as Chucho Valdés – was inscribed in the Los Angeles Latin Jazz Hall of Fame in the U.S. in 2002 and has Honoris Causa Doctorates from Cuban, U.S. and Canadian universities.
In 2012, The New York Times named him the “Deacon of Latin Jazz” and inspired by the sounds of this musical genre, there is even a “Chucho” brand of Japanese made pianos.Share on FB Share on TT