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  • HB
  • Aug. 15, 2008
  • Principal Guest Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Thomas Wilkins, leads the Orchestra in a Program of Cuban Classics

    FRIDAY, AUGUST 15, 2008, at 8:30 PM
    SATURDAY, AUGUST 16, 2008 at 8:30 PM

    Promotion Partner: Starbucks Coffee Company

    Media Sponsor: Hollywood & Highland Center

    Exclusive Spanish Language Media Sponsor: Univision 34/TeleFutura 46

    The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, led by Thomas Wilkins, Principal Guest Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, performs a program of Cuban classics that pays homage to Old Havana, a city that was the starting point for the distinctive Cuban rhythms that won the world over. The program includes Freeman’s “Conga” from Oiseaux Exotiques, Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, Lecuona’s Andalucía and Malaguena, Tiomkin’s Suite from The Old Man and the Sea, Marquez’ Danzon No. 2, and Falla’s Final Dance from The Three-Cornered Hat.

    Cachao’s Mambo All-Stars, who carry on the legacy of the Grammy-winning bassist and composer, the legendary “father of the mambo,” are joined by fellow Cuban musician and composer Paquito D’Rivera for a musical tribute to Old Havana. Cachao’s Mambo All-Stars’ energetic descargas – improvised, Latin jam sessions of which Cachao was both inventor and master – conjure up images of Havana’s heyday, and remember the man who transformed Cuban music. Cachao’s Mambo All-Stars feature an unmatched ensemble of Afro-Cuban artists, many whom played with Cachao throughout his career. The All-Stars are Federico Brito, violin; Ramses Colón, bass; Anthony Columbie, singer; Luis Conte, percussion; Adalberto Lara, trumpet; Mark Gregory, trombone; Danilo Lozano, flute; Daniel Palacio, singer; Rafael Palau, saxophone; Alfredo Valdés Jr., piano; and Oreste Vilato, timbales.

    Renowned dancer Liz Lira leads a team of the hottest salsa dancers in Los Angeles for a special appearance with Cachao’s Mambo All-Stars.

    Israel “Cachao” López is considered by many to be the creator of mambo music. Cachao, who passed away at the age of 89 on March 22, 2008, spent 76 years living in Cuba, where he revolutionized the Cuban music scene. He eventually made it to the U.S. and moved to Miami, where he spent almost a decade with little recognition by American music fans. That changed in 1992, when Andy Garcia – a longtime fan of Cachao’s music - made a documentary about Cachao titled Como Su Ritmo No Hay Dos - a title which honors Cachao's uniqueness as musician and innovator. In March of 1995, Cachao earned a Grammy Award for Master Sessions, Vol. 1, his successful album of descargas that came out of his collaboration with Garcia. As Garcia’s fondness for Cachao continued, he followed up Como Su Ritmo No Hay Dos with a second documentary, Cachao: Una Mas, a tribute to the life and music of his friend.

    Born on the island of Cuba, Paquito D’Rivera began his career as a child prodigy, playing both the clarinet and the saxophone with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. A restless musical genius, D’Rivera created various original and ground-breaking musical ensembles. The winner of nine Grammy awards, he is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. As part of the Caramoor Latin American music initiative, Sonidos Latinos, D’Rivera’s premiered his concerto for double bass and clarinet/saxophone, Conversations with Cachao, in tribute to Cuba’s legendary bass player.

    THOMAS WILKINS is Principal Guest Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. He was appointed as Music Director of the Omaha Symphony in 2005, and 2007/08 marked his second season with the orchestra. The 2007/08 season also marked his eighth season as Resident Conductor of the Detroit Symphony. Past positions have included Resident Conductor of the Florida Orchestra (Tampa Bay), and Associate Conductor of the Richmond (VA) Symphony. He served on the music faculties of North Park University (Chicago), the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Committed to promoting a life-long enthusiasm for music, Wilkins brings energy and commitment to audiences of all ages. For his significant contribution to the children of Tampa Bay, the Pinellas County Music Educators Association named him 1998 Friend of the Arts and the Hillsborough County Elementary Music Educators recognized him as 1998 Music Educator of the Year. He seeks to cultivate a “vibrant creative imagination” in today’s youth. Wilkins has guest conducted orchestras throughout the United States, including the Cleveland Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra; the symphonies of Dallas, Baltimore, Houston, Grand Rapids, New Jersey, Indianapolis, San Antonio and Oregon; the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Louisville Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, DC. As Resident Conductor of the Detroit Symphony, he leads the orchestra in a variety of programs, including Classical, Special Events, Pops, Young People’s and educational concerts. In the 2007/08 season, the DSO awarded Wilkins the Classical Roots Musical Achievement Award. Wilkins actively participates in the life of the community as a frequent guest speaker and volunteer for local community organizations and schools. He has served on the board of directors of such organizations as the Center Against Spouse Abuse in Tampa Bay, and the Museum of Fine Arts and the Academy Preparatory Center for Education, both in St. Petersburg. Currently he serves as chairman of the board for the Raymond James Charitable Endowment Fund. A native of Norfolk, VA, Wilkins earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in 1978, where he now returns each summer to serve as Orchestral Conductor for that institution’s summer performing arts camp. In 1982, he was awarded the Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

    CACHAO was born in 1918 in Cuba, and became one of the world's leading jazz bassists and exponents of Afro-Cuban music. Over his lifetime, Cachao wrote over 3,000 "danzónes" - a traditional style of Cuban music - mostly for Orquesta Arcaño y sus Maravillas. He is credited with inventing the "mambo" in 1938; a style of Cuban music later popularized by Perez Prado. In 1957 he introduced jazz-like improvisation and created what became known as "descargas." This new form of "jamming" mixed jazz-like improvisation, Cuban idioms and extended soloing in a loose format not seen or heard before. These Cuban jam sessions had a profound effect on the growing Latin music scene in New York. Shortly after Fidel Castro's rise to power in 1962, Cachao left Cuba for the U.S., settling in New York and performing with and influencing, among others, Tito Rodriguez and Charlie Palmieri; two of New York's most famous bandleaders of the era. Over the years Cachao has recorded with Tito Rodriguez, Charlie Palmieri, Rolando Valdez, Gonzalo Fernandez and many more. Cachao’s performing career spanned 80 years. Cachao passed away at the age of 89 on March 22, 2008.

    PAQUITO D’RIVERA created various musical ensembles, becoming one of the founding members of the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna, a group that he also directed for two years. Additionally, he was a founding member and co-director of the innovative musical ensemble Irakere. With its explosive mixture of jazz, rock, classical, and traditional Cuban music never before heard, Irakere toured extensively throughout America and Europe, and won several Grammy nominations (1979, 1980) and a Grammy (1979). Paquito D’Rivera's first Grammy recognition as a solo artist came in 1996 with the highly acclaimed recording Portraits of Cuba. Since then, D’Rivera has received numerous recognitions as an artist and composer. Most recently, D’Rivera received his ninth Grammy for the record Riberas with the Buenos Aires String Quartet. He is a recipient of the National Medal for the Arts, and was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. While Paquito D’Rivera's discography includes over 30 solo albums in jazz and Latin music, his contributions to classical music are equally impressive. They include solo performances with the London Royal Symphony, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He has also performed with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, the Costa Rica National Symphony, the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, the Bronx Arts Ensemble, and the St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra, among others. In addition to his extraordinary performing career as an instrumentalist, Paquito D'Rivera has rapidly gained a reputation as an accomplished composer. Recognition of his significant compositional skills came in 2007 with the award of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition, and the 2007-2008 appointment as Composer-In-Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.

    The premiere Latin dancer, LIZ LIRA, has conquered the salsa world with four World Championships and is currently taking the ArgentineTango & Intl. Latin worlds by storm with her signature moves and jaw dropping performances. Liz Lira, the "Rose of Salsa," desires to present an elegant style of salsa as her trademark, and her dancing has been referred to as a fusion of graceful motion and explosive energy. For more than a dozen years, she trained at the most respected dance studios with top ballet coaches and traveled with her dance company, Salsa Soleil, performing in front of thousands and on TV. Seen as one of the more talented young ballerinas, she encountered numerous opportunities, including the possibility to move to New York and join one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world -- The New York City Ballet. At the age of 21, she emerged onto the LA salsa scene. Her style quickly gained her recognition as one of the top female dancers in Southern California.

    One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the HOLLYWOOD BOWL has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and in 1991 gave its name to the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, a resident ensemble that has filled a special niche in the musical life of Southern California. The 2004 season introduced audiences to a revitalized Hollywood Bowl, featuring a newly-constructed shell and stage and the addition of four stadium screens enhancing stage views in the venue. To this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's concerts. While the Bowl is best known for its sizzling summer nights, during the day California's youngest patrons enjoy "SummerSounds: Music for Kids at the Hollywood Bowl," the Southland's most popular summer arts festival for children, now in its 40th season. Attendance figures over the past several decades have soared: in 1980 the Bowl first topped the half-million mark and close to one million admissions have been recorded. In February 2008, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the fourth year in a row at the 19th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards. The Bowl's summer music festival has become as much a part of a Southern California summer as beaches and barbecues, the Dodgers, and Disneyland.


    FRIDAY, AUGUST 15, 2008, at 8:30 PM

    SATURDAY, AUGUST 16, 2008 at 8:30 PM

    HOLLYWOOD BOWL, 2301 N. Highland Ave. in Hollywood

    A Night in Old Havana – Mambo Style!


    Thomas Wilkins, conductor


    Paquito D’Rivera, special guest

    Federico Brito, violin

    Ramses Colón, bass

    Anthony Columbie, singer

    Luis Conte, percussion

    Adalberto Lara, trumpet

    Mark Gregory, trombone

    Danilo Lozano, flute

    Rafael Palau, saxophone

    Daniel Palacio, singer

    Alfredo Valdés Jr., piano

    Oreste Vilato, timbales

    Promotion Partner: Starbucks Coffee Company

    Media Sponsor: Hollywood & Highland Center

    Exclusive Spanish Language Media Sponsor: Univision 34/TeleFutura 46

    Tickets ($10-$114) are on sale now at, at the Hollywood Bowl Box Office (Tuesday–Sunday, noon–6 p.m.), by phone 323.850.2000 or by calling Ticketmaster at 213.480.3232, and at all Ticketmaster outlets. Groups of 10 or more may be eligible for a 20% discount, subject to availability; call 323.850.2050 for further details.

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  • Contact:

    Lisa Bellamore,, 213.972.3689; For photos: 213.972.3034