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Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Is Flown To Cuba And It Became The First American Orchestra To Perform In Cuba Since The Revolution


December 17, 1999 - The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra was flown down to Cuba by Caribbean Air Service, Inc. a federally certified air carrier out of Miami, Florida. One aircraft flew the members of the orchestra and another aircraft flew the orchestra’s instruments on a Short 330, said Mr. Dana Murphy the president of Caribbean Air Services, Inc.

Murphy, stated "the flights had a few hiccups” due to the large sizes of the musical instruments, flight restrictions and the number of pieces. The flights were both successful and the Cuban Government along with the United States Government, provided great assistance to make this successful and a memorable event.
  short 330

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Andreas Delfs, became the first major American orchestra to perform in Cuba since the U.S. imposed an embargo on the island 37 years ago. The goodwill concerts included a gala performance on December 17th by the 88-member ensemble, an educational concert, an open rehearsal for members of the Cuban National Orchestra, plus a meet-and-greet reception for students at the Havana Conservatory of Music.

In January of this year, President Clinton loosened certain restrictions with Cuba that improved the “people-to-people” contact, including the start of cultural exchanges. Fortuitously, Music Director, Andreas Delfs, 40, recognized the opportunity in this relaxation of U.S. rules restricting Americans’ from contact with Cuba and initiated this good will tour.

This MSO tour is the first professional orchestral cultural exchange and was one of Cuba’s first direct encounters with American culture in almost four decades. The U. S. Treasury Department had approved the three-day trip. 


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