HAVANA, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- The China Philharmonic Orchestra delighted Cubans on Thursday night in the first of two concerts in Havana with a repertoire that included Western classics and traditional Chinese music.
Performing for the first time in the island, the Chinese orchestra took the stage of Cuba's National Theater and charmed the public with its perfect execution.
The group headed by Long Yu, one of the most renowned Chinese directors, played for almost two hours.
"Having an orchestra of such high standard in Cuba, with wonderful musicians and a great director undoubtedly is something exceptional. In our country any cultural event that comes from China is of great interest to our people," Cuban Culture Minister Abel Prieto, who attended the concert, told Xinhua.
"In the second concert we will see how cultural cooperation becomes a reality as the director of the Cuban Symphony Orchestra, Enrique Perez Mesa, will be directing the China Philharmonic Orchestra," he said.
Li Nan, president of the China Philharmonic Orchestra, said the group as an "envoy of music" has toured around the world and this first visit to Cuba is very special.
"Cuba is known for its cultural level and respected for its arts and culture. This visit is a great honor for us," said Li.
The orchestra's second concert in the island coincides with the premiere of the musical group 16 years ago in China, an occasion that is pure coincidence.
"We are happy to have the 16th anniversary here in Cuba. No full philharmonic orchestra has performed in Cuba before and for us this is a milestone," added Li.
Before visiting Cuba, the musical group performed in Canada and the United States as part of their "Tour of the Americas."
The China Philharmonic Orchestra has become China's top orchestra and a leading figure in Asia with an international reputation.