The big concert at the Museo de Bellas Artes felt a little like the ending of The Wizard of Oz. (“And you and you and you…and you were there!”) Familiar faces from the Instituto Superior de Arte, Laboratorio de Música Electroacústica, Ministry of Culture, and more had all shown up to support the students in their final presentation.

Eugenio, John, and Neil

Eugenio Arango joins John Hull and Neil Leonard for a song combining batá drums, laptop, and saxophone.

The concert pulled together not only music from different people and different backgrounds, but disciplines other than music, as well, with dance and visual art giving the performance even more depth. Offering multiple ways for the audience to access the performance seems especially important in electronic music, which has been strongly linked to interdisciplinary art in Cuba since Juan Blanco premiered Cuba’s first work in the genre “Musica para Danza.” The mixture certainly went over well with the audience at the Museo de Bellas Artes!

"Nuestro Tiempo"

All the performers collaborated on a final work entitled "Nuestro Tiempo."

The concert was itself structured a bit like a song, beginning with pieces composed by each of the Berklee musicians before they’d come to Cuba, continuing with pieces created by the Cuban students and faculty on their own, and ending with a climactic piece that stitched together work done by all the performers that week into a single mosaic.

Named after the Sociedad Cultural Nuestro Tiempo a seminal group of mid-20th-century Cuban artists that included Juan Blanco, the piece made students “consider the impact that a community of artists from diverse practices can have on a culture,” said Electronic Production and Design professor Neil Leonard. “We wanted them to consider models for collaboration, models for interdisciplinary work, models for innovation, but the name also implies that they’re part of this continuity.”

Read more posts from Berklee’s inaugural trip to Cuba:

Brenda Pike
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