7:30 PM – 8:45 PM

Teatro Esperanza
4261 N. 5th Street, Philadelphia 19140 (Directions & Parking)

Free / sliding scale virtual admission for all.

$10 full / Free in-person admission for students and seniors. Find Esperanza’s current COVID safety policies HERE.

Orchestra 2001 continues its annual ¡CONEXIONES! series at Esperanza Arts Center this season featuring music by Cuban and Cuban-American composers.
Generously funded by the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation.



Ernesto Abelardo Valdés – Almendra

Tania León – Toque 

Ileana Pérez Velázquez – Zunzun 

Leo Brouwer – La Niña Bonita

Paquito D'Rivera – Preludio y Merengue

Mark Loria, Conductor


Ernesto Abelardo Valdés de la Cantera (A.k.a. Abelardo Valdés) was one of the most important danzoneros in Cuban musical history, and conductor of the Orquesta Almendra. He was born on November 7, 1911, in Havana. He died 47 years later as the musician who made the danzón known in the world, on December 9, 1958. 

Tania León (b. Havana, Cuba) is highly regarded as a composer, conductor, educator and advisor to arts organizations. Her orchestral work Stride, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, was awarded the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Music. In July 2022, she was named a recipient of the 45th Annual Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements.


Cuban born composer Ileana Perez Velazquez lives in upstate NY and is a Professor of Music Composition at Williams College, MA. The New York Times has praised the “imaginative strength and musical consistency” and the “otherworldly quality” of her compositions. Her music has been heard in concerts and international festivals in Cuba, the United States, and throughout South and Central America, Europe, China, and the Middle East.


Composer, guitarist and music director, Leo Brouwer was born in Havana, Cuba in 1939. He studied with Isaac Nicola, Pujol's pupil and specialising in composition, completed his studies at the Julliard School of Music and at Hartt College of Music.In 1987 Brouwer was selected, along with Isaac Stern and Alan Danielou, to be honourable member of UNESCO in recognition for his music career - an honour that he shares with Menuhin, Shankar, Karajan, Sutherland and other musical luminaries.


Paquito D’Rivera has won fourteen Grammy Awards, and is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. Born in Havana, Cuba, he performed at age 10 with the National Theater Orchestra, studied at the Havana Conservatory of Music, and at 17, became a featured soloist with the Cuban National Symphony. As a founding member of the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna, he directed that group for two years, while at the same time playing both the clarinet and saxophone with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. He eventually went on to premiere several works by notable Cuban composers with the same orchestra. Additionally, he was a founding member and co-director of the innovative musical ensemble Irakere.


Return to home page.