Topic: *Cuba* info needed

I have recently sponsored a lovely Cuban oboe student through the IDRS "Sponsor-a-Member" program.  Lauren and I are communicating via E-mail with the aid of a translation web-site, as I speak no Spanish and she speaks no English.  I would like to know if there might be any IDRS members from Cuba or neighboring countries.  Also, I'm interested in finding out about Cuba's double reed world.  Does cane grow there?  Are music supplies readily available?  Do they play a French reed?  Do they mainly play Loree oboes?  Any tid-bits of information would be greatly appreciated.  I would love to have Lauren attend our 2007 IDRS conference.  Any thoughts or suggestions?


Re: *Cuba* info needed

Hi Marsha:

I can tell you of three oboists from Cuba that reside in Mexico. Jorge Rivero is the oboe teacher at the conservatory in Morelia and has a couple of CD recordings, one of them features Pasculli fantasies. I heard the CD once and his technique is very solid. He apparently studied in Paris with Bourge, but I cannot comfirm that. He definitely sounds  very French to my ears (not that there's anything wrong with that!). Cubans have traditionaly (not surprisingly) studied in the former Soviet Union as well as Poland and France.
I played in the Filarmonic in Guadalajara with Nancy De La Caridad, the English Hornist.  Nancy defected while playing in the world renowed "Book Fair " in Guadalajara in a concert of the Havana Philharmonic  accompaning Silvio Rodriguez, a very popular Cuban songwriter, even known in the US  by some. At the time of her asylum request, Nancy kept and still has with her, to my knowledge, a Marigaux EH with gold plated keys. This instrument,  which was brand new, had been recently purchased along with other double reed instruments by the goverment of Cuba for it's orchestra. This might have been the best EH instrument in Cuba, but it's now in Mexico. As you can imagine, resources are very limited and although they emulate french reed styles, in Cuba oboists play whatever they can get their hands on. There are higher priorities in Cuba today other than the quest for the perfect reed. I also know a cuban oboist by the name of Frank Ernesto Fernandez. He is/was studying in Mexico with Jorge Rivero and comes from a well known family of musicians in Cuba. His father, Frak Fernandez, it's a notable pianist and arranger for both  Silvio Rodriguez and Pablo Milanes (another well known songwriter). Frank's Mother is also a distinguished musician in Cuba and enjoys a great reputation. I once gave Frank a bunch of cane and some other supplies as a little donation to take to the students in Cuba. He told me that there are many oboe students in Cuba, that it is a popular instrument...The music scene in Cuba is a mixed bag. Cubans are fanatical about their culture and most cuban oboists will happily play anything, from Mambo to Mozart. The desire is inside their wills and hearts. They can play the oboe in spite of lack of supplies, etc . Musicians in the Filarmonic also at times play in the Opera of Havana but may also play in a concert band. there is also  some recording work. I remember hearing a great oboist by the name of Romi Fernandez in some cuban Cd's, mostly of popular music. Although I never met her, I was told that she married someone in Italy and migrated there. All music is woven into the everyday routine so as you can imagine, inspite of difficult economic standing, musicians are almost always busy in Havana.
This info is mostly based on conversations with these Cuban oboists, as well as other Cuban musicians I have met in the past,  so I do not speak categorically . Hope this helps and Kudos for sponsoring a young oboist. BTW, Cane grows pretty much everywhere in the Caribean, but it's rarely harvested, plus I'm not sure how good it is with so much humidity, etc.


Pedro Diaz

Last edited by pedroboe (2006-08-09 20:05:46)