The Chicago Harp Quartet (CHQ) spent a week-long residency from May 29-June 4 in Cuba.
The island nation, a country of 11 million people, today has only one harp teacher and only four pedal harps, and those are in disrepair.
Supported by Lyon & Healy Harps and donations from the general public, the CHQ’s mission was to expand cooperation through cultural diplomacy and bring and donate supplies, music, and instruments to the Cuban people.
Since its formation in 2012, the Chicago Harp Quartet (Marguerite Lynn Williams, Julie Spring, Catherine Litaker, and Emily Ann Granger) has established itself as the leading harp ensemble in the U.S. Widely regarded as a Chicago treasure, the Quartet has dedicated itself to presenting innovative, charismatic and forward-thinking programs that include original transcriptions as well as new commissions from composers across the globe.
The quartet has performed at major concert venues across the U.S. including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Curtis Institute of Music.
Facilitated by a serendipitous meeting between the ensemble and young Cuban harpist Anabel Gutierrez during her studies at Indiana University, “No one in Cuba has heard a harp quartet in more than 60 years,” notes Gutierrez. “For the first time, this generation of Cuban musicians and audiences will experience the world of the harp and understand all its possibilities as a solo and chamber instrument. Not only will the harp students be nurtured, but this tour will break many barriers and clear the path for international harpists to perform in Cuba.”
The Cuba Journal is the exclusive media partner for the Chicago Harp Quartet’s mission to Cuba.