Havana Ancient Music Festival

Poster from a previous festival

HAVANA TIMES, January 15 -The 7th Esteban Salas Ancient Music Festival takes place this year from January 31 to February 8, organized by the Havana Historian’s Office and the Ars Longa ensemble.

Under the category of Ancient (or Early) Music the festival includes the best of lyrical song, sacred music and instrumental music of the 17th to 19th centuries, with ancient instruments and compositions from the medieval, renaissance and following periods.

Pieces recovered from the Cuban repertory from when the country was a Spanish colony are another attraction on the program.

Each edition of the festival is dedicated to works, composers and essential instruments in the history of Ancient Music. The list of honors includes L’Orfeo (5th Festival), composed by Claudio Monteverdi and which marked the birth of a generation of opera; Mozart (4th Festival), and the Organ (6th Festival), considered the king of musical instruments.

 Georg Friedrich Handel
Georg Friedrich Handel

The festival coincides this year with the 250th anniversary of the death of German musician George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), a genius of the baroque.

The concerts will take place at several colonial venues including the Iglesia de Paula, the San Francisco de Asis Basilica Menor, the Oratorio San Felipe Neri, the City Museum, the Hispano-American Cultural Center and the La Columnata Egipciana Cafe, all located in Old Havana.

Besides the daily concerts, the festival also includes an exposition of ancient string instruments at the City Museum.

Likewise, courses will be held on improvisation and orchestra music and the making of old string pluck instruments (lauds and renaissance guitar and baroque) in the San Francisco de Asis Convent.

The festival inauguration takes place on Saturday January 31 at 4:00 p.m. with a presentation of sacred opera by the San Ignacio de Loyola orchestra led by the Ars Longa Ancient Music Group and the Coral de Niños Cantores Liricos, choir group, led by Teresa Paz.