Tuesday night we checked out The New York Philharmonic performance in Central Park. Music Director Alan Gilbert lead the orchestra in Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 from the Jupiter cycle and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, during the first of the season’s concerts. It was a beautiful night and the Great Lawn was packed, but it was not until I was reading about it yesterday that I found out that there were an estimated 80,000 people there! Luckily there are lots of other concerts planned over the summer season in lots of boroughs, so you won’t have to travel too far to check them out.
But that’s not to say that you have to be in New York to enjoy the Phil. The president of the Philharmonic, Zarin Mehta, announced today that he and other Philharmonic officials planned to travel to Havana, Cuba tomorrow to investigate logistics and see if it will be feasible for them to accept Cuba’s invitation to perform there in the fall. The Philharmonic seems to be hoping to add another exotic and controversial destination to its touring season. In light of the recent US embargo lifting some travel restrictions to Cuba, the Philharmonic has already received licenses to travel there. This trip would come at the end of their Asian tour in October, during which they will visit Vietnam. And you may recall that last year they were the first major orchestra to ever travel to the dictatorial, and exceedingly isolated, North Korea. As Gilbert explained to the Times, the trip would be a nonpolitical “cultural exchange,” explaining, “I think that music really does speak for itself.” Let’s hope that music continues to transcend borders more and more in the years to come.
Returning to more U.S.-related “Havana” news, a new album entitled Havana Winter by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Hearn will be released here on July 28th. Hearn is best known as a skilled multi-instrumentalist in the platinum-selling pop band, Barenaked Ladies. Hearn, a classically trained pianist, has pursued a parallel solo career path for some time now, and this will be his 5th solo album. As a solo artitst, his songs continue to be introspective, and are framed by gentle, seductive melodies and charmingly subtle vocals.
On Havana Winter, he is joined by Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Mary Margaret O’Hara, John McDermott, and Chantal Kreviazuk. Hearn is performing tonight at the Mercury Lounge with his band, Thin Buckle. If you’re feeling like easing into your weekend on a mellow note, you should check them out.
Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle – Driftwood: