Jeff Goodspeed will soon be joining the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba
to record pieces he spent the past winter writing.
Goodspeed and Enrique Perez Mesa, musical director with the orchestra, presented the music to an audience at the National Theatre of Cuba in April. Goodspeed was invited to return in December when the music will be recorded for release as a CD in the Cuban market.
“It was an amazing experience to present my own music, in front of an 80-piece orchestra, supported by musicians who I first worked with as students so many years ago,” he said.
Jeff Goodspeed and his wife Amara started the Los Primos cultural exchange project 21 years ago to help provide musical instruments to Cuba. Almost 800 instruments have now been delivered and funds have been raised for music education in Nova Scotia. Students and professional musicians from Canada and Cuba travel back and forth to share music and culture.
Goodspeed, who plays saxophone and flute, has been performing with Augusto Enríquez, who has shared the stage with many famous musicians, since they met in 2011. Enríquez is also a medical doctor and served as an advisor to the Cuban Ministry of Culture. Two of his children, Alison and Augusto-Pedro, will join him and Goodspeed for a show at the Marigold Cultural Centre on Aug. 1.
Goodspeed and Enríquez are also working together to help a new volunteer-run music program which was created to help the inner-city youth in Old Havana. Los Primos is now collecting string instruments for this project, which is called Centro Sinfónico Infantil.
Goodspeed teaches music at the Nova Scotia Community College in Dartmouth and performs at Stayner’s Wharf on Sundays from 5 to 9 p.m.