Fredonia music faculty to perform in Cuban jazz festival

three jazz faculty in the Fredonia School of Music

Fredonia School of Music faculty who will perform with the Cuba-United States All Star Jazz Ensemble are (from left): Jonathan Lombardo, Dr. Nick Weiser and Kieran Hanlon.

By Roger Coda

Three School of Music faculty – Kieran Hanlon, double bass; Jonathan Lombardo, trombone; and Dr. Nick Weiser, piano – have been invited to join the Cuba-United States All Star Jazz Ensemble in Santiago de Cuba during the Cuba/September Jazz Festival.

They will be among 21 musicians and four vocalists from the Unites States and Cuba who will perform “P@ACE: Pictures at a Cuban Exhibition,” a collection of original compositions inspired by Cuban art work, similar to Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” at the Teatro Heredia amphitheater.

"It is a thrill and an honor to represent the university abroad, to have the opportunity to share in the rich Cuban musical tradition and to collaborate with stellar musicians from both countries,” said Dr. Weiser. “I am hoping this trip will foster a continued dialogue between the people of Santiago de Cuba and the university, and create a potential for future academic and performative exchanges."

In addition to the Fredonia trio, the American contingent includes faculty from the University of Richmond and Penn State.

Ensemble members will also have opportunities to also play in jazz combos and other smaller groups at assorted venues in Santiago de Cuba and be involved in outreach and teaching activities for a week, beginning on Sept. 17.

Fredonia’s connection to the Cuba/September Jazz Festival was forged by Mr. Lombardo, who was invited by ensemble founder Dr. Michael Davison, director of Jazz Ensemble at the University of Richmond and a Cuban music scholar, to play with the group last year.

“I told Mike about our amazing jazz faculty here at Fredonia and suggested we invite them,” said Lombardo, who also serves as principal trombonist of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also worked with Dr. Davison at the world-renowned Interlochen Arts Camp for the last five years.