Violinist José White & the Philharmonic Society of New York, 1875 – 1876

April 4, 2023 - 4:00 pm

Zoom Meeting

José Silvestre White Laffita (1835-1918) is widely acknowledged as Cuba’s greatest violin virtuoso. Well known for composing La Bella Cubana, White made New York his base during an eleven-month tour of the United States, from August 1875 to July 1876.

On December 11, 1875, White became the first soloist of African descent—on any instrument— to perform as a soloist with the Philharmonic Society of New York, now known as the New York Philharmonic, the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States. 
The topics discussed will include the tour’s reception in the press, White’s musical collaborations with Cuban exiles, and with the most prominent orchestras and conductors of the time. It will also examine his performances in some of the main concert halls of the East Coast. The information contained in this presentation is based on primary sources and archive materials. It is part of new advancements within the research topic in progress of José White’s life and works.

Yavet Boyadjiev (DMA, CUNY Graduate Center) is a Cuban-born violinist and an independent scholar. She has served on the faculty of Brooklyn College Preparatory Center for the Arts, The Juilliard School Music Advancement Program, the Midori Foundation, and Mahidol University College of Music, in Bangkok. She has been the recipient of several grants and fellowships, most recently the Benjamin Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society. Her articles have appeared in The Strad, Revista Musical Chilena, The Journal of the American Viola Society, and she has presented at several international conferences in Europe and Asia. She is currently working on a book-length biography of the Cuban-French violinist and composer José White (1835-1918).

Coordinator & Moderator: Ana María Hernández, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY


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