Cubans in UK to send a piano to a conservatory in Havana

Posted: 26-Feb-16 11:44

A solidarity campaign was launched early this month by artists based in London with the purpose to contribute to the musical education in Cuba, by sending a piano to one of the most prestigious art schools in the capital city, Conservatory Amadeo Roldan.

Cubans in UK to send a piano to a conservatory in Havana

With the slogan “A piano for Cuba”, artists residing in the United Kingdom are calling the attention of the international audience on the possibilities they have to support the island's high standard musical education.

The main goal of the campaign is to buy a second hand concert piano for the Conservatory Amadeo Roldán in Havana, where many illustrious Cuban musicians as the pianists Teresita Junco and Frank Fernández, Marcos Madrigal and director Guido López Gavilán have taught or studied.

As in Cuba there are no piano producers or retailers, and the country is also affected by harsh economic restrictions due to the embargo imposed by the United States government since the 1960s, many musical schools are affected by the scarcity or the poor conditions of the instruments they use.

Donations have been the main source for island's artistic institutions for obtaining musical instruments and other expensive material for more than 50 years, as globally renowned personalities and other people that have recognised the values of the Cuban educational system have engaged in diverse solidarity campaigns.

The effort made by a group of members of the Lincoln Center Orchestra of New York to take musical instruments to various schools in the Caribbean nation is one of the preceding chapters to the “A piano for Cuba” campaign.

The initiative born in the UK as an idea of the pianist Eralys Fernández is very particular, taking into account that it is led by artists of the Cuban diaspora whose relation to the island´s cultural scene has becoming closer in the last decade. Until the mid-1990s, migration was a highly politicised issue in the country, and many artists that went to live abroad remained distanced from the local cultural circuit.

The UK campaign is an expression of the gratitude that many of the Cuban artist based overseas feel for the education they received for free in their country of origin.

“Cuba is famous for its rich history in the arts and culture; providing free education to the highest of standards for all its citizens. The Conservatory Amadeo Roldán is free for all its students (…) I am one of many artists to have trained at the Conservatory.”

Said Eralys Fernández in a short statement that is circulating on Internet.

A video produced specially for the campaign introduces the history and the outcomes of the school in Havana and shows the only concert piano that remains standing in the institution, that came from the Soviet Union in the 1980s. The text that was released explaining the basis of the campaign states that it is necessary

“...to raise £10,000 to buy a second hand concert piano in good condition. Unfortunately, the cost of a new concert piano is beyond our capacity.”

“A piano for Cuba” is raising money through the online platform gofoundme.com, but the main activity of the movement will be a fundraising classical music concert by Eralys Fernández, the violinist Omar Puente, Beatriz Carbonell, Soo Park and Nandita Bhatia, viola player Elin Parry and cellist Alice Sophie. The benefit recital will be on March 12th this year at St John on Bethanal Green, London. Anyone can enjoy the concert while supporting a fair cause just by buying tickets and participating in this concert programme.

The project, that it is supported by an association of Cubans living in Britain named Cubanos in UK, has received the monetary contribution of ex-students that said to feel “indebted” to their teachers and the island´s “wonderful” musical institutions.


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