News is aflutter now about the Minnesota Orchestra heading to Cuba to be the first US orchestra to perform there since President Obama took steps to normalize relations between the countries in December 2014. That last part is emphasized because the more this news makes the rounds, the more that point gets glossed over; so much so that in some cases it is even getting left out (although most of those instances have since been corrected).
However, the honor of the first orchestra to perform in Cuba when sanctions were still in place goes to the Milwaukee Symphony, which spent two days on the embargoed island in November, 1999. For additional historical reference, that was the same period in time when the Elián González business was unraveling across major news networks.
We referenced that trip here back in an article from 10/11/2005 where the music director at the time, Andreas Delfs, included their Cuba tour as one of several pioneering accomplishments. Moreover, you can find a wealth of articles about the tour from 1999 including a thorough overview by Bernard Holland in the 12/20/1999 edition of the New York Times, an article by Marian Dozier in the 12/16/1999 edition of the SunSentinel.com, and even a 12/16/1999 audio segment from NPR’s David Welna (although it is old enough that it seems to only be available in Real Media format).
So yes, it is genuinely wonderful that Minnesota is headed to Cuba; just be mindful when considering applicable modifiers.
2 thoughts on “There Are Firsts And Then There Are Firsts”
Wait until they try to reenter the USA with their ivory tipped bows…
They won’t be going to Cuba with any ivory tipped bows Irvin. They plan on keeping their bows/