The Catholic University of America

Feb. 16, 2017

Trip to Cuba Inspires Catholic University Recital of Music from the Caribbean Island

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) The easing of U.S.-Cuban relations and a trip to the Caribbean island nation last May by two Catholic University music professors has inspired a recital that will be held in March to highlight the unique resources of the University’s Latin American Music Center (LAMC).

On Sunday, March 19, at 2 p.m., faculty and students from the University’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music will present “Recital Concert: Souvenirs from Cuba,” an afternoon of chamber, piano, and vocal music at Ward Recital Hall on the University's campus (620 Michigan Ave., NE, Washington, D.C.). The concert will feature selections from the library of the LAMC, which is housed at the music school. The concert is free.

Founded in 1984, the LAMC is one of just a few places in the United States where students can study 300 years of Latin American music and the only institution in the Americas to offer a minor in Latin American music on the master’s and doctoral levels in a number of different graduate degree programs. The center fosters research and performance as well as new works that last year included the premier of the composition, “Videntes Stellam,” by Puerto Rican composer Johanny Navarro, who is pursuing a master’s degree in composition.

The idea to present a concert with a Cuban repertoire came about after music school faculty members Rosemarie Houghton and Gustavo Ahualli traveled to Cuba with Venezuelan pianist Carlos Rodriguez and Anamer Castrello, a mezzo-soprano and voice teacher who earned a doctorate in musical arts (D.M.A.) at Catholic University. There they worked with students at El Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán, a music conservatory in Havana.

Houghton noted that her experience in Cuba has had an impact on the way that she’s teaching her Spanish Lyric Diction course this semester. She noted that “watching musical performances in Cuba and seeing that music is such a big part of everyday life there” was eye-opening.

In preparing for the concert, Houghton and a music school colleague combed the LAMC library holdings, which include scores from nearly every Latin American country and Spain, a large record collection, and catalogues of works. Among the concert pieces they selected is a song by the late Cuban composer, pianist, and teacher Harold Gramatges. His nephew, Eric Gramatges — a voice instructor at the music school who earned a D.M.A. at Catholic University — will perform the piece.

“Most schools don’t teach Latin American and Cuban music,” says Houghton. “What we do at the Latin American Music Center is very special.”

For more information on the concert, call 202-319-5414.

MEDIA: To schedule an interview or attend the Feb. 28 event, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications at or 202-319-5600.



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