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Classical on Cuba

With new late-night sessions, Kaupapa Māori ensembles and a 'Bridgerton'-inspired bash, this iteration of Classical on Cuba might be the largest yet.
By Sarah Templeton
June 13, 2022
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By Sarah Templeton
June 13, 2022
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Whether you're a classical music aficionado or you only know it as hold music, a festival returning to Wellington is sure to broaden your musical horizons and get you falling in love with the genre. Classical on Cuba is returning to the capital this winter for a stacked lineup of over 100 shows, performed by over 40 musical acts across 20 venues — all during one giant, musical weekend.

Running from Friday, July 22 until Sunday, July 24, key events like the iconic Classical Crawl will return to the festival as well as brand new events like the Late Night Sessions and a Bridgerton-inspired shindig

Think of the annual Classical Crawl as a pub crawl for classical music: it consists of 90 half-hour shows across 20 different venues throughout the Cuba Street precinct, including cafes, bars and galleries. You might happen across nine-piece flute choir The Flute Squadron, jazz-fusion quartet Little Symphony Sax Quartet, sparkling piano duo Duo Enharmonics or solo artist Jack Hooker. Grab a coffee (or a wine) along the way.

Then head to the new late-night sessions: a series of "anything goes" gigs complete with cocktails and pizza at bars Rogue & Vagabond and Bedlam & Squalor on Glover Park.

Several Kaupapa Māori ensembles are also set to perform, combining Aoteroa's indigenous music-making and classical tunes. Classical group Manawa is set to mix the spiritual sounds of taonga pūoro with electric bass and drums, guitar and te reo Māori. Locally based group Ao will be offering totally improvised performances, combining taonga pūoro, koto (of Japan), violin, and modern music technology.

And if you joined the rest of the world in falling in love with the classical sounds of Netflix's Bridgerton, you're in luck. String quartet group The Whistledowns will be performing at a talk-of-the-ton Bridgerton-themed musical soirée, bringing string quartet hits from the popular Netflix show and folk music from the regency era. Dressing in theme is apparently highly encouraged.

There are over 100 performances along Cuba Street scheduled across the weekend, so head to the official site for the full lineup.

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