Simone Dinnerstein takes Mozart to Havana

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American pianist Simone Dinnerstein, who first received critical acclaim for her recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, has made collaboration a major part of her career since that first, solo recording. She has created recordings that bridge the worlds of classical music, jazz and folk. Her longtime collaborator and arranger, composer Philip Lasser, has been with her practically since the beginning, and is involved in Ms. Dinnerstein’s new Mozart CD, by arranging the cadenzas first created by the Romantic Italian composer, Ferrucio Busoni. The real focus here is not so much on what was recorded, but where: Dinnerstein traveled to Cuba to record these Mozart concertos, with a young orchestra that has existed for only a few years. The results are revelatory.

Dinnerstein shares this revelation in the conversation I had with her, where she describes her first impressions upon arriving in Havana; recording at night in a church, in order to have quiet, only to be disrupted by the activities of neighbors and also flies; and of this orchestra, made up of some extraordinarily gifted conservatory students, who were unflagging (despite the heat of the church’s space) in their enthusiasm for playing Mozart. It comes across clearly in their collaboration with Dinnerstein.

Mozart in HavanaDinnerstein, Havana Lyceum Orchestra
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