A group of respected Cuban musicians were awarded the National Culture Distinction last night, May 17, in a ceremony at Havana's José Martí Memorial, attended by Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, Political Bureau member and first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers.
Honored were 71 composers, performers, pedagogues, researchers, and promoters from several generations and provinces, representing music's many fields.
A resolution by the Ministry of Culture granting the awards, read by Marta Bonet, vice president of the Cuban Institute of Music, outlined the careers of those honored, who received their medals from Díaz-Canel; Minister of Culture Abel Prieto; and Miguel Barnet, president of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC).
In name of the prizewinners, saxophonist, composer, and band leader César Alejandro López, spoke, recalling how the Revolution made the artists' careers possible, and how, in his case, he was able to attend an art school established in Camagüey as part of a cultural educational program promoted by Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro.
"That is why," he said, "at this time, from the bottom of my heart, I say: Thank you, Fidel, because as the song by Raúl Torres goes, we are grateful."
Musicologist Jesús Gómez Cairo, director of the National Museum of Music, emphasized the honorees' commitment to Cuban culture and the values that define our identity.
Sharing the moment were several winners of the National Prize for Music, in addition to Party leaders from other provinces.