6 days, 5 nights in Havana for Cuba Festival de Música Contemporánea XXXI with Internationally Renowned Flautist Elena Durán



Cuba is just a few miles south of the United States, but to most Americans it might as well be the far side of the moon. As the diplomatic relationship between the United States and the Republic of Cuba evolves after 57 years of embargo, the sanctioned People-to-People cultural and educational exchanges between the two countries are now the only legal opportunity for Americans to visit Cuba. And, there’s much to see, learn and inspire you.

Now in its fifth year of taking People-to-People delegations to Cuba, CR&V is pleased to present this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Imagine Cuba’s top musicians in a truly intimate and distinctive venue performing just for you. You will be uplifted by the music, make new friends and mingle with world-class musicians who just shared their inspired artistry with you.

Download Trip PDF   Download Application PDF

Elena Durán

Internationally Acclaimed Flautist and Cultural Ambassador

As part of Cuba Rhythm and Views’ cultural exchange with Cuba, we are proud that Elena Durán will appear with Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba for Festival de Música Contemporánea. Elena will perform the Cuban premiere of Concierto Son—an amazing new concerto for flute and orchestra composed by preeminent Mexican composer Arturo Márquez. This hugely energetic work concludes with a conga that will most certainly require an encore. Elena will also be working with Cuba’s best and brightest students at Instituto Superior de Arte, Cuba’s renowned conservatory. And, you will be Elena’s guest to witness all of these events up close and personal!

Elena Durán is one of the most charismatic flute players on the international concert platform today. She was born and raised in East Oakland, California to parents who were both born in Aguascalientes, Mexico. She received her early musical education in the Oakland Schools system and after high school she studied at Mills College. At the age of only twenty she was appointed Lecturer in Flute at Stanford University.

Elena has made concerto appearances and recordings with many major orchestras in the UK, USA, Europe and with virtually every orchestra in Mexico. She has played regularly for members of the British Royal Family including two Royal Galas with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London’s Royal Albert Hall in front of Her Majesty the Queen. She has also appeared frequently on television and radio in many countries and has had her own radio programs in both Mexico and the UK. She was also the founder and for twenty years  the artistic director of the Stratford-on-Avon International Flute Festival. Elena has devoted herself to the cause of Mexican music.

Festival de Música Contemporánea de La Habana XXXI November 3-10, 2018

Organized for the past 31 years by Maestro Guido López Gavilán, the prestigious Festival de Música Contemporánea de La Habana XXXI is sponsored by the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) and the Cuban Music Institute and is dedicated to contemporary works performed by some of the world’s most celebrated musicians.

In conjunction with master classes and theoretical symposiums, festival performances are staged in venues throughout Havana, including Basilica de San Francisco de Asís, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Teatro Nacional, House of the Americas, and Fábrica de Arte de Cubano.

Trip Overview


$4,475 Per Person, Double Occupancy
$5,425 Per Person, Single Occupancy
For information, call 253.279.5555


Price Includes:

  • 5 nights in Havana’s most prestigious 5-star hotel, Meliã Cohiba
  • 5 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners including gratuities (3 NIGHTS and 2AFTERNOONS for you to explore local dining options on your own)
  • Roundtrip airfare between Miami-Havana
  • A different private performance most days with Cuba’s most celebrated performers in all genres
  • VIP seating for Elena Durán’s Cuba XXXI Festival de Música Contemporánea concert performing the Cuban premiere of Aurturo Márquez’s Concierto Son for flute with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba conducted by Maestro Guido López-Gavilán
  • All activities and events include admissions and ground transportation
  • Baggage transfers and handling at airport and hotel arrival and departure
  • Cuban visa fees, departure tax, and medical insurance while in Cuba

Not Included:

  • U.S. domestic airfare & passport
  • 3 dinners and 2 lunches so you may explore local dining options
  • Independent and private transfer for activities not on the itinerary
  • Any baggage charges or fees
  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • Personal items such as internet access, telephone services, laundry

Downloadable Documents
Tour Application PDF, please print and return
Trip Information PDF

Payment: (check and credit cards accepted)
Check – Submit your deposit to Cuba Rhythm and Views, 1982 E. Oxford Drive, Tempe, AZ 85283.
Credit card – 3% of any credit card transaction will be added to your final invoice.
Call 253.279.5555 or use the secure link below.

FINAL PAYMENT due 60 days prior to departure.

$1000 deposit required


Any music-lover or patron of the arts, be it jazz, classical, dance, folklórico, son (not exactly salsa, but close), and choral music are welcome to travel with us on this historic tour. The group size will be limited to 30 to enhance your intimate experience. To secure your space, please fill out the application packet available at or call 253.279.5555. Priority will be based upon the order in which we receive deposits.

Reserve Now


This trip is different from all the others. Our delegations experience distinctive and intimate exchanges in private residences, exclusive performing spaces not generally accessible to Americans, behind the scenes at Cuba’s great concert halls, and visits to leading arts schools and conservatories. This 7-night trip includes the finest hotels and private restaurants (Paladares), in addition to offering up close and personal experiences with Cuba’s most celebrated musicians, dancers, and visual artists. Our group size is limited to ensure that the experience is unique and memorable.

This is the only People-to-People trip designed for passionate lovers of music and the arts…and Cuba has some of the best in the world. Other trips may, on the surface, appear to be less expensive, but we encourage you to take a closer look and examine hotel accommodations, whether your visa and round-trip Cuba airfare are included, the number of days of the trip, etc. Once you compare, we are confident you will conclude that Cuba Rhythm & Views is an incredible opportunity and a great value!

Your hosts, veteran music producers Woody Wilson and Neil Birnbaum, have more than 70 years of combined experience presenting the world’s finest music and artists. Together, they have spent the past five years exploring Cuba’s creative arts, engineering major cultural exchanges, and building cultural bridges that have helped to break down the barriers between our countries. Both men are dedicated to offering the highest attainable artistic excellence and a truly distinct experience. The result is a cultural exploration of Cuba that is the new benchmark for People-to-People tours of this remarkable and isolated nation.

Itinerary of Activities

IMMERSE yourself in intimate and exclusive experiences hosted by Cuba Rhythm and Views.

MEET professors, diplomats, artists and musicians at exclusive receptions and private dinners.

ENJOY some of the most vibrant cultures in the world along with expert-led tours at museums and in the cities, as well as special government-approved visits to schools, and historical sites not generally available to Americans.

The Meliã Cohiba Hotel

Our headquarters in Havana will be the five-star Meliã Cohiba Hotel on Havana’s historic Malecón. Meliã Cohiba is one of the finest hotels in the Caribbean. After a busy day in Havana, Meliã Cohiba is the place to relax, have a cold drink, check your email with available Wi-Fi, look at the sea, or take a stroll along the Malecón at sunset and be inspired by Havana coming to life after dark.

Classical Music & Dance

In Cuba, the classical arts are revered by every walk of life. During our trip, patrons will experience performances by such renowned groups as: Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional; Ballet Nacional de Cuba; Ballet español de Cuba; Ballet Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba; Camerata Romeu; Cantores de Cienfuegos; Orquesta de Cámara de la Habana; and more. Events will include opportunities to attend rehearsals as well as performances, mingle with the performers as well as sharing a meal. These People-to-People experiences will be truly awe-inspiring.

Traditional Cuban Music

Traditional music and its evolution over the centuries is at the heart of the Cuban soul and mystique. The history of music in Cuba is the story of its people; from slavery, political upheaval, revolt and a joyful celebration of Cuban life. As part of our Cultural Exploration, you will learn about the origin of Cuban music and dance. Cuban jazz be-gins here.

 Benny Moré School & Instituto Superior de Arte

Cuba is committed to arts education and training from primary school to the university level. To see firsthand how artists and musicians are cultivated, we will visit Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) where you will experience Cuba’s arts education system with private performances by school orchestras, chamber ensembles and dance classes. You will also visit ISA’s visual arts studios. In addition to the performances, you will have the opportunity to communicate with the students and their teachers in a round table discussion that will enlighten you on Cuba’s robust arts education.

Cuban Jazz & Nightlife

Cuba has some of the finest young jazz musicians in the world. The Afro-Cuban tradition has evolved into a robust jazz scene that has a solid foundation in the classical music training musicians receive at the prestigious music schools throughout the country. In Havana, jazz thrives. Our patrons are not only immersed into Havana’s jazz nightlife, but will be treated to private, one-on-one concerts from the best and brightest of Cuba’s jazz elite. This unique exposure to one the world’s most active jazz scenes is a Cuba Rhythm and Views exclusive.

Architecture and Historic Preservation

Some of the most exquisite historic buildings in the Caribbean are in Cuba. Despite the 57 years of embargo, Cuba has managed to preserve and restore some of its most important heritage structures, neighborhoods and monuments. Using tourist dollars and financial incentives, much of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is gradually be-ing rehabilitated to its former beauty. A noted Cuban architect or urban planner will provide our patrons with an in-sight into what it takes to gradually restore one of the world’s great cities, one building at a time.

Visual Arts

As part of our People to People exchanges, our patrons will visit leading Cuban artists’ studios and homes. They will discuss their work and their artistic visions. Among the many artists patrons will meet are: Vladimir Rodríguez, Santiago Hermes Martínez, Kadir Lopez, Villaluilla, and many more. These personal encounters will help you understand life in Cuba before the Revolution as well as today.

Cuban Cuisine and Paladares

The growing movement of private restaurants, or paladares, in people’s homes is flourishing in Havana. This movement is at the vanguard of economic change in Cuba. The best dining in Cuba is in paladares along the backstreets and alleyways of Old and New Havana. The restaurants are being reviewed internationally and Havanaphiles are slowly finding their way to these wonderful free-enterprise culinary destinations. Most of our meals will be in paladares. And, for the evening meal, our patrons will be given the names and locations of Havana’s best private restaurants, all within a ten-minute cab ride from the Meliã Cohiba.

Other People-to-People Activities

Meet with former European Union Ambassador Carlos Alzugaray for a talk about US/Cuba relations; Mr. Alzugaray is a professor at University of Havana International Relations School, and an expert in US studies. Visit a day care center run by The Sisters of the Love of God, visit a classroom in session, learn about the remarkable work the sis-ters do for single mothers.

Don’t take our word for it! Here’s what people said about our recent trip:

From day one, we were given intimate glimpses into the hearts and souls of the dancers, singers, musicians and teachers who shared their lives with us. We have been on many “tours” to other countries but have never experienced anything as moving and beautiful as this. —Thomas and Sally K. Tempe, AZ

Where do I start??? The trip you provided for us in Cuba was nothing short of a miracle – the musicians, dancers, students etc would never have crossed our paths without your superb and thoughtful planning. —Sue W, Montreal, Quebec

The Cuba Rhythm and Views trip to Havana exceeded my high expectations, in terms of the quality of the music programs, hotel, meals, and logistics. A professionally-managed program that was truly a great value for the money! —William W, Miami, FL

The obviously deep, abiding connections that the CRV team have made with their colleagues in Cuba translates into the opportunity for CRV’s travelers to see inside the Cuban society and meet its people, heart-to-heart. —Hugh H, Tempe, AZ

As a long time lover of Cuban music and culture, this trip was a dream come true – amazing musical performances with the chance to meet and talk to the artists, exploration of Cuban culture and history, and an overall greater appreciation of what the magical isla has to offer. —Linda R, Tempe AZ