Jacksonville Symphony to perform with Mambo Kings to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month


The Jacksonville Symphony will celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with Mambo Kings in concert on Sept. 22, 23 and 24 in Jacoby Symphony Hall at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.

Conducted by Nathan Aspinall, the Jacksonville Symphony will perform with the Afro-Cuban group, which has been together since 1995, and is one of the world’s foremost Latin jazz ensembles. The group has earned a national reputation for its blend of Afro-Cuban rhythms and jazz improvisation. Mambo Kings made its orchestral premiere in 1997 with the Rochester Philharmonic and has since appeared in festivals and pop concerts across the country.

Afro-Cuban jazz first emerged in the early 1940s. Its true birth is often credited to trumpeter-arranger Mario Bauza, who headed a band in New York. When Bauza introduced fellow trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie to famed Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo, a match was made that would change the course of the musical genre. With the introduction of bongos and congas, Afro-Cuban jazz hit the East Coast jazz scene in the U.S. The program features different types of Afro-Cuban Jazz, including the popular dance types of Mambo, Milonga and Danzón.

This season, the Jacksonville Symphony is conducting an extensive search to find a new concertmaster. The process will bring in eight candidates to perform with the symphony throughout the course of the season. For this concert, Nigel Armstrong will take the stage with Conductor Aspinall and the symphony. Armstrong is an up-and-coming solo violinist who has experience serving as concertmaster.

The Sept. 22 and Sept. 23 concerts will be at 8 p.m. The Sept. 24 concert is at 3 p.m.

National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

 “As part of the First Coast Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, we are delighted to participate in this celebration,” said Robert Massey, president and chief executive officer of the Jacksonville Symphony.

Tickets are available at JaxSymphony.org, by calling the ticket office at (904) 354-5547 or by visiting the Times-Union Center ticket office Monday to Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.