Friends of Ravinia's Steans Music Institute, Diane Karzas and Madeleine Plonsker, joined the ensemble on their trip to Cuba and took time out of their busy schedule to send us this story about the beginning of their trip to Havana.
After a short delay while the plane was weighed we took off on our less than one hour flight down to Havana. Matt, Miriam and Madeleine suitcases had to be left behind, but at least we have all the instruments. We are hoping to see them today, but we are having issues with internet.
The weather is glorious and our first day began in the grand casino room of a pre-Revolutionary club for Spaniards. Miriam first worked with a piano trio playing the Haydn Piano Trio No. 4 in F Major. The students listened intently to Miriam's instructive comments and their playing soon began to reflect her words. The second group to perform was a piano and violin playing Beethoven"s Spring Sonata, Movements 1 & 3. The room rang clear with the interchange between the duo and Miriam. Each group received an hour's instruction.
Now for the social side: last night we were all invited for dinner at the newly restored mansion of one of Cuba's most important artists. Esterio Segura, known internationally for his sculpture, painting and photography, gave us a tour of his new studio and gallery space before sitting us down to a three course dinner prepared by his own private chef. The evening was spent in lively conversation about how the arts in Cuba relate to its politics.
This afternoon will be spent in practice by the quartet. Tonight the group will attend the opening concert of the Frank Fernandez Music Festival where the Steans Institute Quartet is on the program for Friday night.
Your Girls In Havana,
Diane & Madeleine
(pictured above: Basílica Menor del Convento de San Francisco de Asís where RSMI will perform on March 28)
[UPDATE 11:00 AM: Everyone has arrived safe and sound in Cuba, luggage included.]