Riccardo Muti, the recipient of countless awards and accolades, hopes to achieve another milestone: to conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Cuba.
The CSO music director expressed that wish during the orchestra’s 2015/16 season press conference Jan. 26. Now that U.S. government looks to re-establish diplomatic, trade and cultural relations with Cuba after a 50-year embargo, Muti said, “One of the first things we should do is go there with the Chicago Symphony and play a concert.”
Members of another Chicago music institution were actually in Havana last month. Orbert Davis and Mark Ingram of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic were participating in a cultural exchange program when President Barack Obama announced on Dec. 17 that the United States and Cuba had re-established diplomatic relations. “Everyone just erupted in applause,” said Davis, a trumpeter and CJP artistic director, in an interview with CBS, and noted that percussionists launched into a rumba when they heard the news.
Davis and Ingram might share more details of their Cuba visit when the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic performs Feb. 6 at Symphony Center in a rental booking. The group will introduce its first-ever commission, a work by Grammy-nominated composer-saxophonist Daniel Schnyder, on a program devoted to composer Gunther Schuller, an NEA Jazz Master, and originator of the term “Third Stream” to describe the fusion of jazz and classical genres. Now 89, Schuller will make a rare appearance at the CJP date.
In an interview with DNAinfo Chicago, Davis talked about his expectations for the program, titled “The Godfather of the Third Stream: Gunther Schuller.” “The music will totally erase any preconceived notions of what they expect it to be,” Davis said. “They will walk away saying, ‘That was fun.’ “
For more details about Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and “The Godfather of the Third Stream,” visit the ensemble’s site.
PHOTO: Orbert Davis, artistic director of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, which will perform Feb. 6 at Symphony Center.