In 1977, legendary musician Dizzy Gillespie visited Cuba in search of the nation's Jazz scene, rumored to be one of the world's best, but unknown to the general American public because of the tenuous relations between the two countries. He needed someone to take him to the smoky clubs and side streets where the true beating heart of soul-stirring Afro-Cuban rhythms could be heard. So when a young trumpeter offered to lead the tour, he readily accepted. At that point he had no idea that he was in the presence of his future protégé. But that realization would come just a while later, when Arturo Sandoval hit the stage and bust out with one of his extraordinary trumpet grooves.
The winner of four Grammys, Sandoval has performed with Justin Timberlake and Alicia Keys, and was the subject of an HBO film based on his life. He defected from Cuba in 1990 while on concert in Spain. Cuba's loss is the Miami Symphony Orchestra's Festival Miami and Season Opening Concert's gain on Sunday.
"Arturo Sandoval is fluent in at least four musical languages," says Miami Symphony Orchestra's director, composer, and conductor Eduardo Marturet. "He can burn through an Afro-Cuban groove, tear up a bebop tune, soar over a Mozart concerto and soothe you with a luscious ballad--with equal power and grace."
The Latin Jazz legend will headline the month-long music festival's special concert for the world-premiere of a piece titled Rivera's Concierto de Miami for Trumpet and Orchestra. The symphony will also perform Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A major, and Ravel's Bolero.
The concert is part of Daniel Pearl World Music Day--a day of "harmony for humanity" started by a conductor who was friends with Daniel Pearl, a reporter murdered by kidnappers in Pakistan. The conductor, George Pehlivanian, chose to go on with his scheduled concert the next day despite his grief and later declared, "As the orchestra played Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, I finally understood the triumph of hope over despair."
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The Miami Symphony Orchestra's Festival Miami and Season Opening Concert takes place this Sunday at 8 p.m. at Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center (1300 Biscayne Blvd., Downtown.) Tickets cost $20 to $150. Call 305-275-5666 or visit themiso.org.