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Smithsonian Folklife Festival Presents Camerata Romeu Concert

Award-Winning Cuban String Orchestra Performs Cuban and Latin American Chamber Music


The Smithsonian Folklife Festival presents a performance of Cuban and Latin American chamber music by the award-winning Cuban string orchestra Camerata Romeu Saturday, Sept. 30, at 7:30 p.m. at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C. The performance is the first in the Folklife Festival’s new off-the-Mall series “Cuban Voices|Voces Cubanas.” Tickets are $18 and can be purchased from the Festival’s Eventbrite page. The concert will be followed by a light reception.

Formed in 1993 by the Fundación Pablo Milanes, this all-female, 16-member group has performed in venues around the world under the direction of conductor Zenaida Romeu. The first Cuban woman to graduate with a degree in orchestral direction, Romeu hails from three generations of notable musicians. Joining her are some of Cuba’s finest young artists for an evening of music by distinguished composers from Cuba, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.

The concert rounds out the string orchestra’s first national tour in the United States in more than a decade that has included performances at Bard College, Berklee College of Music and Seattle Town Hall.  

“‘Cuban Voices|Voces Cubanas’ is an exciting opportunity to expand the Festival’s 50 years of cultural exploration, exchange and engagement by presenting events ‘off the Mall’ and throughout the year,” said Sabrina Lynn Motley, director of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. “Many of my Smithsonian colleagues have spent decades working in Cuba, and I’m thrilled that a rare U.S. performance by Camerata Romeu is launching this series. These remarkable women demonstrate the deep and varied wells of creativity and cultural heritage found both on and off the island.”

“We had a silent time in between [the United States and Cuba],” Romeu said. “So it’s a dream to renew the relationships, the cultural relationships, and we can go again. We want to open again those spaces for our orchestra. I would like to share this music and the happiness of doing music.”

About Cuban Voices|Voces Cubanas

This concert launches the Folklife Festival’s new off-the-Mall series, “Cuban Voices|Voces Cubanas,” focusing on sustainable creativity, continuity and adaptation, resilience and agency. From conversations and film screenings to performances and workshops, the series provides a compelling platform from which Cubans can share their distinct, varied and—above all—creative voices.

About the Festival

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, inaugurated in 1967, honors contemporary living cultural traditions and celebrates those who practice and sustain them. Produced annually by the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in partnership with the National Park Service, the Festival has featured participants from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

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