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FIU Music Festival 2021 opens with celebration of Cuban music

FIU Music Festival 2021 opens with celebration of Cuban music

The festival opens Oct. 20 and runs through Nov. 13, 2021, featuring orchestral premieres of the Cuban national anthem and Ernesto Lecuona’s “Rumba-Rhapsody”

October 18, 2021 at 4:00pm

The FIU School of Music will open the 2021 edition of the FIU Music Festival on Oct. 20, bringing together international and local musicians and ensembles for three weeks of performances, masterclasses, and a panel discussion about the future of the music business industry at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center.  

Opening night is a tribute to Cuban music, featuring an orchestral premiere of the Cuban national anthem co-produced by Grammy award winner Emilio Estefan and the FIU School of Music in partnership with CasaCuba, as well as the orchestral world premiere of Ernesto Lecuona’s “Rumba-Rhapsody.” The evening will include performances by the leading authority and interpreter of the music of Ernesto Lecuona, pianist Tomas Y. Tirino, the FIU Symphony Orchestra, the FIU Concert Choir, Encantus Voices, and the Miami Children’s Chorus.
“We are so incredibly excited to perform for our audiences again,” said FIU School of Music director Karen S. F. Veloz. “We have an exceptional lineup of musicians planned for our festival and are hosting a panel discussion on the future of the music industry – a most-relevant topic during the pandemic. We continually strive to offer programming that deepens our engagement with the South Florida community, reaffirms our commitment to diversity, and nurtures the next generation of musicians through meaningful collaborations and partnerships.”
The festival lineup runs through Nov. 13 and includes an exciting series of jazz and classical performances by international and local musicians. Accomplished jazz pianist Michael Eckroth will make his FIU debut in his new position as associate professor with the FIU Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Big Band. He is a pianist/arranger for the Cuban ensemble Orquesta Akokan, whose 2018 debut album received a Grammy nomination.
Chamber music lovers will delight in a program of works by Ravel, Mozart, and Enescu, including the latter composer’s rarely heard “Octet for Strings,” performed by the FIU’s Artist in Residence ensemble, the Amernet String Quartet, along with Nicholas Kitchen and Yeesun Kim, members of the world-renowned Borromeo String Quartet. For one night only this season, FIU Artist in Residence Kemal Gekic will engage in a program of  piano fireworks in the Wertheim Concert Hall with pianist Lindsay Garritson, and returning alumnus and former FIU concerto competition winner Silvije Vidovic.
Other artists to perform at FIU include pianist Karen Walwyn, the first female African American pianist and composer to receive the Steinway Artist Award, Germany’s Berlin PianoPercussion, clarinetist David Shifrin, award-winning pianist Asiya Korepanova, Latin-Fusion group RumBarrocco, and Cuban born, Miami-educated pianist, Fabian Alamazan.
Festival musicians and prominent experts provide additional training to music students with intensive one-on-one instruction, masterclasses, coaching, and lectures. The festival is an opportunity for students to make real-world connections in the concert and music industry as they launch their careers.  This “learn by doing” philosophy has enabled graduates to join the ranks of conductors, performers, entrepreneurs, and music educators, many of whom are now leaders in their respective fields across the state of Florida and around the world.

A portion of the newly gifted Celia Cruz Music Score Collection, a cultural treasure that includes 230 long- and short-form musical scores belonging to the legendary Cuban singer, will be on display in the Wertheim Performing Arts Center Concert Hall lobby throughout the festival.
The FIU Music Festival is presented by the FIU School of Music and funded in part by Ocean Bank and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. The opening night is co-sponsored by the FIU Cuban Research Institute at FIU, the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center at FIU, and CasaCuba at FIU. The Nov. 5 concert is co-sponsored by the Friends of Chamber Music of Miami. 
Concerts will be held at FIU’s Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center located at FIU’s MMC Campus, 10910 SW 17th St., Miami, FL 33199. For more information on the festival schedule and ticket prices, please visit Livestream and discounted tickets available.