A Horn for Havana

A Horn for Havana

The Minnesota Orchestra’s historic trip to Cuba is (already!) a year in the past—but its impact is still being felt near and far.

One such postscript involves members of the Orchestra’s oboe section. While in Havana, they met Lauren Ríos Hernández, an oboist in the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba, and worked with her oboe students at the Escuela Nacional de Arte. After learning of Hernández’ wish to give her students experience on an English horn—the larger, lower-toned relative of the oboe—the Orchestra’s then-oboe section of John Snow, Julie Gramolini Williams and Marni J. Hougham took action.

Their research yielded a high-quality, gently-used English horn offered by Nancy Huang of RDG Woodwinds at a reduced price of $7,400. The oboe section, joined by Paula DeCosse, a Board member and amateur oboist, then made lead gifts to launch an online campaign that ultimately raised $8,375 from more than 70 donors.

The English horn from RDG Woodwinds.

Photo: Marni J. Hougham with Nancy Huang of RDG Woodwinds, which sold the English horn at a generous reduced price.

The English horn has now arrived safely in Havana at Hernández’ studio, completing an extraordinary odyssey—one community’s musical gift to another.

The English horn is delivered to Cuba.

Photo: Lauren Ríos Hernández receiving the English horn, handed off by Johan van Zyl of the tour company Classical Movements on behalf of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Minnesota Orchestra Staff