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Classical On Cuba Announces Its Triumphant Return To Wellington This Aug 7 – 8

WELLINGTON, NZ — Classical on Cuba: ‘where classical music meets Cuba Street culture’ announces its triumphant return to Wellington this Winter with a festival featuring over 100 concerts across 20 venues during the weekend of August 7 – 8, 2021.

Asking audiences to reimagine the ‘classical music’ experience, patrons will be able to explore and enjoy a range of exciting classical and contemporary repertoire across the Cuba precinct in a unique, accessible and informal environment suited for all ages. With 24 ensembles playing across 20 different venues, the festival encourages fans to curate their own classical music crawl and immerse themselves in the music and hospitality of Cuba Street. From a harp and trombone duo in the cocktail bar Hanging Ditch to a cello quintet in San Fran, Classical on Cuba brings classical music to contemporary spaces for all to delight in.

Festival Director Gerry Paul says: “It’s a uniquely Wellington event and a very accessible way to discover classical music. We love the juxtaposition of these wonderful ensembles playing in venues where you’d typically hear electronic music or an indie band. Audiences are invited to enjoy a coffee or beer as they are transported to the classical era for 30 minutes"

Classical on Cuba was born out of COVID-19 in 2020 as a joint collaboration between CubaDupa and Orchestra Wellington following the cancellation of their festival dates and concerts. Involving 20 ensembles across 15 venues, the 2020 festival was a hugely successful event for Wellington, debuting as one of the first major festivals post-lockdown, selling over 3500 tickets and receiving an award for resilience from His Worship Mayor Andy Foster. The money generated from the 2020 festival was also donated back to the hospitality sector and the resounding response to the new classical music festival led to it’s return and funding thanks to the Wellington City Council’s City Recovery Fund.

The 2021 festival builds upon last year’s success with a larger scale programme of 24 participating ensembles including groups from Orchestra Wellington, an Opera performance by the new Opera Wellington company in the newly refurbished Naumi Hotel and a youth programme of six ensembles performing at Rogue & Vagabond and Bedlam & Squalor in in partnership with the Pōneke Classical Sessions featuring up and coming talent from the New Zealand School of Music.

Orchestra Wellington Manager Kirsten Mason says: “We have put together some wonderful combinations of instruments from within the orchestra - we have string quartets of course, but also wind trios, four trumpets, a trombone & harp duo, violin & classical guitar, and plenty of percussion”. Nothing beats performing for an audience who are seated just feet away, and we're looking forward to getting back into Cuba Street's most iconic venues to share some of the greatest music ever written with our fellow Wellingtonians”

The ensembles will deliver a range of well known classical tunes as well as contemporary repertoire, featuring special performances such as pop-up trumpet fanfares from Cuba Street balconies and more exciting mini concert activations à la CubaDupa.

Letting audiences explore and enjoy the festival at a pace and schedule that suits them, Classical on Cuba aims to take the ‘high-brow’ out of classical and keep the festival accessible for all ages and exciting for audiences with an affordable ticket price of $10 and a digestible 30 min concert length. Working alongside our venues, audiences can also sit back and relax with a beverage or a plate of food during the concerts themselves.

The 2021 Classical on Cuba programme releases Wednesday 21 June with early bird ticket discounts running until the end of June. The Festival takes place August 7 – 8 across 20 Cuba Street venues. To find out more information and to book tickets please visit

Classical on Cuba will be selling tickets to each venue’s capacity via a tiered ticket release system in order to allow for the navigation of alert level changes. The first release of tickets will cater to a Level 2 capacity, upon reaching max capacity for level 2 tickets we will announce a second release of tickets catering to a Level 1 capacity. If Classical on Cuba takes place under Alert Level 2, all second release Alert Level 1 tickets will be refunded, and first release Level 2 tickets will remain valid. We will cancel if we go back to Alert Level 3 or 4 following the advice from the Ministry of Health. 


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