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José Antonio Méndez and Marcos Madrigal Rediscover Composer Hubert de Blanck

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José Antonio Méndez (top photo), Marcos Madrigal (bottom photo) bring to life the unpublished works of Hubert de Blanck at the Oratorio San Felipe Neri in Old Havana. Coming this May 6.

A treat is in store for classical music lovers as conductor José Antonio Méndez and pianist Marcos Madrigal rediscover and perform the unpublished works of Hubert de Blanck with the Havana Lyceum Orchestra.

The Hubert de Blanck Sinfónico concert is a project of the Orchestra with the collaboration of the National Museum of Music and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Cuba. The night, dedicated to de Blanck’s unpublished repertoire, begins at 4:00 pm, May 6 in the Oratorio San Felipe Neri in Old Havana.

Hubert Christian de Blanck (1856—1932) was a Dutch-born professor, pianist, and composer who spent most of his life in Cuba. He was a significant contributor to the cultural life of the Island, as president of the Seccion de Philharmonic de ‘La Caridad del Cerro,’ fundraising to construct a hospital, creating a chamber music quartet in existence for decades, and composing Patria, an opera of Cuba’s struggle for independence, as well as building the city’s first music conservatory.

He died in Havana in 1932 and is buried at the Colon Cemetery. As a contributor to Cuban cultural life, his legacy was honored in a postage stamp, a theatrical company and theater that still bear his name.

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Méndez, founder and director of Havana’s Lyceum Orchestra, will lead the orchestra in this delightful performance of de Blanck’s compositions.

Cuban classical pianist and director of the Habana Clásica Festival, Marcos Madrigal, is the guest. He will perform two pieces for piano and orchestra, the Capricho Cubano, and Andante y Allegro from de Blanck’s repertoire.

Mendez founded the Havana Lyceum Orchestra in 2009. Since then, the orchestra has joined forces with Sarah Willis, the French horn player of the Berlin Philharmonic in the “Mozart y Mambo” project, resulting in several recordings now available from Alpha Classics. Other notable performances include the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and the United States.

The Havana Lyceum Orchestra project with the collaboration of the National Museum of Music and the Embassy includes the localization, transcription, assembly, interpretation, and recording of de Blanck’s long-forgotten repertoire. The first activities of the project emerged in November 2022 with a chamber concert performance at the Habana Clásica, resulting in the first recording of the de Blanck collection, “A Wandering Dutchman.”

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Habana Clásica festival, under the direction of Madrigal, is an international annual event taking place every November. The festival gathers international classical musicians and artists together for performances and Masterclasses. This year will mark its fifth anniversary.

Today, the works of De Blanck form a part of a treasured collection within Cuba’s National Museum of Music.

The Hubert de Blanck Sinfónico concert begins at 4:00 pm in Havana.

Program:

  1. La danza tropical. Vals para soprano ligera y orquesta (La Habana, 1904, dedicada a Luisa Tettrazini)
  2. Elegía
  3. Minuetto
  4. Impromptu Op.2
  5. Suite para orquesta (New York, 1881)
    Romanza
    Cachuca
    Tarantella
  6. Caprichocubano para piano y orquesta (dedicado a suhijaMargarita)*
  7. Andante y Allegro de concierto para piano y orquesta*

*Invitado: Marcos Madrigal, piano

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