Classical music meets contemporary Cuba Street culture

Experience classical music with a twist at this playful and vibrant music festival, celebrating where classical music meets contemporary Cuba Street culture. Classical on Cuba pushes the artistic boundaries of what classical music is in the modern day, while also shaking up the usual format of seeing events in traditional concert halls. Inviting audiences to explore classical music in popular bars, restaurants and even art galleries, the festival brings classical music to the people and is performed by Wellington’s brightest players, excited to let you in on the secret that ‘classical’ is hotter than ever.

Classical on Cuba was borne out of the Covid lockdown of 2020, a partnership between Orchestra Wellington and musicians who wanted to perform, and CubaDupa and festival producers who wanted to make things happen to support the Cuba Street businesses that missed out on the revenue generated by the cancelled CubaDupa festival. Orchestra Wellington provided 30 music ensembles and 100 performances, and CubaDupa coordinated 20 hospitality venues. The model proved so successful that we repeated it in 2021, and have taken it to another level for 2022.

Stir Your Soul at Wellington’s Classical Crawl. Classical on Cuba, July 22 – 24, 2022 is back with 100 shows, over 40 music group, playing across 20 venues in the Cuba Street precinct in Pōneke.

Opening the doors for a new audience for classical music

Leading the inspirational programme curation for 2022 is Leah Thomas, graduate of the New Zealand School of Music and the creative engine behind Classical Poneke Sessions. This fresh approach and vision for opening the doors for a new audience for classical music has resulted in a programme that features a widely diverse and playful line up with shows spanning Bach to Bridgerton. With an even larger range of classical crossover concerts this season, that sees classical players coming together with Hip Hop artists, Jazz musicians, Taonga Pūoro powerhouses, opera divas, drag performers, theatre actors and contemporary dancers to make one exciting lineup of acts to choose from on a classical crawl through the weekend. We are also excited to be bringing the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Lexus Song Quest’s Grand Finale into the mix this year.

From new commissioned concerts with Wellington’s finest Jazz & Classical composers to a Carnival of the Animals concert for kids, Classical on Cuba has something for everyone to enjoy this winter. Immerse yourself in live music and expect the unexpected as we redefine classical music during Classical on Cuba.

Classical on Cuba is nurtured under the umbrella of Wellington’s Creative Capital Arts Trust, a non-profit organisation looking out for the arts and artists alike, also housing the extraordinary CubaDupa and the fabulous New Zealand Fringe Festival.