Marlon Daniel, an award-winning African American musical prodigy, is scheduled to conduct Cuba's National Symphonic Orchestra on April 30.
Born to parents from New Orleans and Atlanta, Daniel is considered to be one of the foremost exponents of music by composers from the African diaspora. He has performed works by Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a French Revolution-era conductor, and George Walker, the first man to win the Pulitzer Prize for music in the U.S.
Daniel will perform in the Covarrubias Hall of the National Theatre in Havana at 11:00 a.m. local time. The concert will also feature renowned pianist Gerard Aimontch, while the program includes Symphony No. 8 in G minor by Antonin Dvorak and Don Juan by Richard Strauss.
Russian newspaper Pravda describes Daniel as a “fabulous and exceptional” artist while the Chicago Sun-Times calls him “a natural and enormous talent.” The Amsterdam News also characterizes the young conductor as demonstrating “complete command of the scores.”
Daniel has conducted orchestras in renowned venues such as Rudolfinum in Prague, Carnegie Hall in New York and Bulgaria Hall in Sofia, Bulgaria. He has also performed alongside well-known international artists like Julian Milkis, Rachel Barton-Pine and Deborah Voigt.
Founded in October 1959, in the same year as the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba is one of the island's oldest and most important musical organizations. Apart from performing in national events such as the New Latin American Film, and International Ballet festivals in Havana, the orchestra has also performed in Nicaragua, Peru, Mexico, Argentina, and several other Latin American countries.
With equal opportunity to culture and the arts as one of the foundational pillars of the Cuban Revolution, the National Symphony Orchestra celebrated the 90th birthday of Fidel Castro with a performance in the Covarrubias Hall in 2016.
The show included poems by Carilda Oliver, Jesus Orta Ruiz (El Indio Nabori), Mirta Aguirre, and Nicolas Guillen.
Marlon Daniel's directing of Cuba's National Symphony Orchestra will certainly be a treat for classical music lovers of all ages and ethnicities, and an important opportunity for this artist from the African diaspora to showcase his skills in a nation with strong and longstanding ties to the continent.