Tiempo Libre

with New Haven Symphony Orchestra

Sensual, summery and sophisticated Afro-Caribbean music group Tiempo Libre is one of the hottest contemporary Latin bands. Tiempo Libre has been nominated for Grammys three times, has played all around the world, and has been featured on The Tonight Show, Live from Lincoln Center, and Dancing with the Stars. The group’s goal is to impart their Afro-Caribbean heritage through their musical interpretations of the meshing of their origins with their adopted American experience. Their tropical music, namely their 2011 album My Secret Radio, recalls the band members’ life as teenagers in Cuba at a time where listening to American music over the radio was illegal. The childhood friends fled from Cuba one by and one and ultimately reconnected in Miami to realize their dream of forming the first all-Cuban timba group in America.

In 2015, the musical Cuba Libre debuted, set to the band’s live performance every night. The musical was based on the collective histories of the band members during Castro’s dictatorship. “Tourists go to Cuba and stay in hotels where they have everything they need. If you’re Cuban, you have nothing,” says Gomez in an interview. “A lot of musical theater only shows the good parts about Cuba …  I want to tell the real story; I want them to want to see it, to be drawn in by the music.” The music, spanning from pop power ballads to timba dance club numbers, holds fast to its roots and brings Afro-Cuban flavor to the theater.

Kicking off the night with a Classical-Caribbean twist, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra will reveal a whole new side to classical music. Trinity Steel Band (featuring musicians from Pantastic! Steel Orchestra, Pan Jam & Lime, St. Luke’s Steel Band) will perform invigorating music from Marvin Gaye to an original concerto by Connecticut composer Deborah Fischer Teason. The NHSO is the fourth oldest orchestra in the US, turning 125 years old this year. Its musicians work to inspire, delight and unite larger and more diverse communities. Their vision is to celebrate their classical music heritage and new American compositions through accessible symphonic performances and their music education program, designed to instill a sense of American cultural identity and an appreciation for the heroes of American music. The NHSO regularly performs in New Haven and across Connecticut. 

Alasdair Neale will conduct the concert in his first performance as the NHSO’s music director. In a recent interview with Connecticut magazine, he shared what makes a good conductor: “More important than anything, it’s being a good musician. If that’s not there, the rest is window dressing. Without that you can’t get the respect of the musicians … Some people may disagree with this, but I think the best music comes from situations where there is cooperation and not conflict.” Read more of the interview here >

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