Monday, February 3, 2014

Trip to Cuba brings samba vibe to SMU jazz

By Madeline Puppe
Cardinal Staff

Over winter break, from Dec. 15 to 21, music faculty Eric Heukeshoven and John Paulson were two of 22 musicians and composers sponsored by the American Composers Forum to travel to Cuba. The purpose of the trip was to make contact with Cuban artists in the hope of making opportunities for future collaborations, as well as to learn more about Cuban music culture and Cuban history. 

While in Cuba, Heukeshoven had the opportunity to see a rehearsal for the National Philharmonic Orchestra, and a rehearsal for the National Ballet. There were a lot of opportunities to see local music as well. Heukeshoven noted, “They are a very ethnically diverse culture and it shows in the music.” Heukeshoven was able to explore this culture by attending many workshops and listening to premier musicians and other experts lecture on Cuban percussion, culture and religion. 

As the director of the Jazz Ensemble and Combos on campus, he plans to use the information that he learned in Cuba to bring a deeper dimension to the spring concert. “I know a little more now,” said Heukeshoven. He says the concert “is my way of giving back.” The spring Jazz Ensemble concert “A Night in Havana” will be April 4, at 7:30pm in the Page Theatre. The concert will feature music directly from Cuban composers and will show aspects of Heukeshoven’s trip. 

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