Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra: "Cuban Night"

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Location Amphitheater

Gate Pass or event ticket required.

Buy Tickets

Into the Music Series No. 2
"Cuban night with Aldo López-Gavilán and Daiana García"
Daiana García, conductor
Aldo López-Gavilán, piano



Aldo López-Gavilán: Variaciones con Tema  [15’]


Aldo López-Gavilán: Luciérnagas  [6’]


Aldo López-Gavilán: Viernes de Ciudad  [12’]


Aldo López-Gavilán: Pan con Timba  [7’] 


Daiana García, conductor

Daiana García has conducted all the symphony orchestras of Cuba, playing in the most important venues in the country. Since 2011 she has been music director of the Chamber Orchestra of Havana, which under her leadership has performed with prestigious national and international soloists, premiered new works, participated in all editions of Havana’s Leo Brouwer International Festival of Chamber Music, and appeared in the Havana Festival of Contemporary Music and Chamber Music Festival.

On two occasions in 2016, Ms. García and the Chamber Orchestra of Havana collaborated with Grammy-winning American artist Joshua Bell: during the violinist’s visit to Cuba in April sponsored by Barack Obama’s President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, and again at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, where they performed in a “Seasons of Cuba” concert in the Rose Hall of Jazz at Lincoln Center. The latter event, which also included several renowned Cuban musicians and American singer-songwriter Dave Matthews, was filmed by PBS for a “Live at Lincoln Center” national broadcast.

From 2000 until 2013 Ms. Garcia worked as an assistant to the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Conservatory Amadeo Roldán in Havana, and she directed the conservatory’s Chamber Orchestra from 2002 to 2008. With both ensembles she appeared in the most important venues in the capital, recorded for television programs, and participated in numerous festivals. From 2006 to 2008 she served as deputy director of Cuba’s Symphony Orchestra of Camagüey. Ms. García has conducted the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba (NSOC) annually since 2004. She shared the podium with Chief Conductor Enrique Pérez Mesa during a national tour celebrating the orchestra’s 50th anniversary, and was named assistant conductor of the NSOC in 2015.

Elsewhere in Latin America, Ms. Garcia has conducted Chile’s Symphony Orchestra of Concepción (2006); Metropolitan Youth Symphony Guatemala (2007), and Philharmonic Orchestra of Caracas (2011).

Ms. Garcia’s recordings include a CD featuring composer-pianist Aldo López-Gavilán and violinist Ilmar López-Gavilán with the Chamber Orchestra Amadeo Roldán; a live DVD of Aldo López-Gavilán Más allá del ocaso (Beyond the Sunset) with the Youth Symphony Amadeo Roldán; a 2011 recording of that composer’s music from Casa vieja (Old House) by the filmmaker Lester Hamlet; and a 2013 DVD chronicling the 30-year career of Cuban singer-songwriter Carlos Varela and featuring such performers as Ivan Lins (Brazil), Luis Enrique (Nicaragua), and Jackson Browne (U.S.).

Ms. García is a 2003 graduate of Havana’s Higher Institute of Art, where she was a student of the eminent Cuban composer and conductor Guido López-Gavilán.

Aldo López-Gavilán, piano

Praised for his “dazzling technique and rhythmic fire” in the Seattle Times, and dubbed a “formidable virtuoso” by The Times of London, Cuban pianist and composer Aldo López-Gavilán excels in both the classical and jazz worlds as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber-music collaborator, and performer of his own electrifying jazz compositions. He has appeared in such prestigious concert halls as the Amadeo Roldán (Cuba), Teresa Careño (Venezuela), Bellas Artes (Mexico), Carnegie Hall and Jordan Hall (U.S.), Royal Festival Hall (U.K.), Nybrokajen 11 (Sweden), The Hall of Music (Russia), and Duc de Lombard et Petit Journal Montparnasse (France), as well as venues in Canada, Santo Domingo, Colombia, Spain, Greece, Hong Kong, Burkina Faso, Germany, and Austria.

In 2014 López-Gavilán toured the U.S., appearing at Florida’s Miami Dade County Auditorium, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the San Francisco Jazz Festival, and he completed an ASCAP film music workshop under the direction of Robert Kraft at New York University. He also toured extensively in Europe, South America, Canada, and the U.S. with Cuban singer-songwriter Carlos Varela, for whom he wrote all the string arrangements for an award-winning documentary that was broadcast by HBO Latino in the U.S.

A milestone in López-Gavilán’s professional and personal life came in early 2015, when he joined the New York-based Harlem Quartet—co-founded by his brother Ilmar, the quartet’s first violinist—for concerts in Calgary, Seattle, and Phoenix. That same year he was invited to play with his Jazz Quintet at the Centro Cultural Kirchner in Buenos Aires, Argentina; performed Rhapsody in Blue with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá, Colombia; and closed the year with a sold-out concert at the Teatro del Museo de Bellas Artes in Havana.

His partnership with Harlem Quartet continues in summer and fall 2016 with a U.S. tour that includes concerts and residency activities at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Chautauqua Institution, Santa Fe College, Las Vegas’s Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the Kennedy Center, the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Arts in Beverly Hills. Additional concert tours by the quintet are in the works for fall 2017 and spring 2018.

During the past decade, López-Gavilán’s collaborators have included some of the greatest artists in the classical, popular music, and jazz fields. The late Claudio Abbado, one of the world’s most celebrated and respected conductors, invited him to perform with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela in 2006, in a special concert dedicated to the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. Maestro Abbado subsequently invited him to perform Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 1 in Caracas and Havana. In 2009 López-Gavilán was invited by Carlos Varela to join his band for a tour of Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay; his acoustic arrangements of the music won many accolades from critics and fans. In 2010 he joined the São Paulo Jazz Symphonic Orchestra to perform his music in a concert that was recorded and broadcast on national television in Brazil.

López-Gavilán’s Carnegie Hall debut took place in November of 2012, when he was invited to participate in the hall’s prestigious “Voces de Latino América” festival. That same month he played a two-piano concert with his colleague Harold López-Nussa in Miami.

Aldo López-Gavilán was born in Cuba to a family of internationally acclaimed classical musicians, his father a conductor and composer, his mother a concert pianist. At the age of two, he had written his first musical composition. By four, his mother introduced the budding prodigy to the piano, and he began formal piano studies at the age of seven. His first international triumph was at the age of eleven when he won a Danny Kaye International Children’s Award, organized by UNICEF. López-Gavilán made his professional debut at age twelve with the Matanzas Symphony Orchestra. He later went on to perform Prokofiev’s Third Concerto with the National Symphonic Orchestra of Cuba. Parallel to his classical abilities, López-Gavilán developed remarkable skills in improvisation. He was invited to perform in the world-famous Havana Jazz Festival with the legendary Chucho Valdés, who called him “simply a genius, a star.”

His recording career began in 1999 with the CD En el ocaso de la hormiga y el elefante, which won the 2000 Grand Prix at Cubadisco as well as awards in the jazz and first-works categories. In 2005, he was invited to join a group of prestigious Cuban pianists to create an album and documentary in honor of Frank Emilio, Amor y piano. He was also included in a DVD set, Cuban Pianists: The History of Latin Jazz.

López-Gavilán’s second album, Talking to the Universe, was a success with audiences and critics alike. In 2006, he gave a concert of his newest works that was later turned into his third album, Soundbites. Two years later he was included in a documentary on the history of Latin jazz in Cuba titled ¡Manteca, Mondongo y Bacalao con Pan! directed by Pavel Giroud. It was in that same year that he recorded his fourth CD, Dimensional, which afforded him the flexibility for more musical experimentation. He was also hired to compose the music for a TV documentary titled El Proceso: la historia no contada. In 2009 he released his fifth album, Aldo López-Gavilán en vivo, and finished his first live DVD, Más allá del ocaso, which included orchestral selections and jazz compositions. He also composed original music for the film Casa vieja by acclaimed Cuban director Lester Hamlet. In May 2014 he released his sixth album, De todos los colores y también verde.

Since December 2014, when a new era in the relationship between the United States and Cuba was announced, López-Gavilán has played a major role in the cultural exchange between the two countries. In April 2016, through Barack Obama's President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, López-Gavilán was part of the group of Cuban musicians who collaborated in Cuba with such renowned U.S. artists as Joshua Bell, Usher, Dave Matthews, and Smokey Robinson, A few weeks later López-Gavilán’s music was used to accompany Chanel’s Cruise 2017 Collection—the first fashion show to take place in Havana in recent times—and he partnered with American trumpet virtuoso Byron Stripling in a concert at Havana’s Teatro del Museo de Bellas Artes.