Cuban American Composer debuts at Carnegie Hall

A child of Cuban exiles, Cuban American composer Armando Bayolo debuts at Carnegie Hall, fulfilling the dream his mother had to relinquish in order for him to be born in freedom:

Composer Armando Bayolo Makes Carnegie Hall Debut

Composer Armando Bayolo will make his Carnegie Hall debut, Sunday October 9 at 7:30pm, with the premiere of Lullabies, commissioned by clarinetist Marguerite Levin for Trio Montage at Weill Recital Hall. Premieres from Valencio Jackson, Jr., Allen Feinstein, Brian Balmages, and Joseph Ness will also appear on the program, entitled “Five Premieres Inspired by Five Decades.” Trio Montage includes Levin and collaborators Phillip Collister, baritone, and R. Timothy McReyolds, piano.

In preparation for this debut, Bayolo reflects on the perspective this brings to his work: “The musicians I’ve had the honor and pleasure to work with in New York have been some of the warmest, most welcoming and supportive musicians I’ve met in my career. I have enjoyed working with the New York music community over the past year and am thrilled, honored and humbled to have my music heard in Carnegie Hall in October.”

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In making his Carnegie Hall debut, Bayolo is fulfilling the sacrifices and dreams of three generations of a musical family who barely survived Cuba’s mid-century political upheaval. Around the time that his mother’s family was granted permission to emigrate from Cuba, in 1967, the future Mrs. Bayolo was “invited” to become the Revolution’s protégé. The Castro regime would pay for her musical education and groom her to be a star of the concert stage, under the condition that she and her family remain in Cuba in perpetuity. The family obviously fled to Puerto Rico, and the young woman sacrificed her dreams as a concert pianist to build a new future for her family, learning English, and eventually marrying the senior Mr. Bayolo before moving to the United States.

3 thoughts on “Cuban American Composer debuts at Carnegie Hall”

  1. It’s amazing how many Cuban artists including classical composers, classical musicians and ballet dancers live in exile in the USA and other countries outside of Cuba. Another prominent classical composer that comes to mind is Jorge Martin whose opera, “Before Night Falls,” based on Reinaldo Arenas’s life recently premiered to much praise in the Fort Worth Opera House. And let’s not forget David Alvarez who played Billy Elliot in Broadway and who is currently studying ballet at the American Ballet Theatre, the Harvard of ballet dancing schools in the US. Classical pianist Horacio Gutierrez is a virtuoso on the piano who has won prestigious international prizes and recorded his interpretations. The list is extensive and broad.

    Years ago, I read an interesting article in el Diario las Americas that concluded that the Cuban exile community had produced more culture including art and academia than the regime. When you think about it, this is true. Ironic that the exile community is so reviled while the regime is so praised for its art. Laughable when one thinks that all of the great writers in Cuba have escaped or tried to escape or lived in a form of exile-inside-the-regime as was the case with the brilliant Virgilio Pinera and Jose Lezama Lima.

  2. There was also the world-renowned classical pianist Jorge Bolet, especially known for his interpretations of Liszt and Rachmaninoff, who was never mentioned in Castro’s Cuba.

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