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Classical Music Meets Cuba Street Culture

Photography Johnny Hendrikus



Beer with your Beethoven? Classic!


Classical on Cuba announces its triumphant return to Wellington this winter featuring over 100 concerts across 20 venues – taking things up a notch from its debut festival in 2020.

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.

With 24 ensembles playing across 20 different venues, the festival encourages fans to curate their own classical musical crawl and immerse themselves in the music and hospitality of Cuba Street.


From a harp to trombone duo, to a cello quintet, 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”

Born out of COVID-19, Classical on Cuba has become a collaboration between CubaDupa and Orchestra Wellington following the cancellation of their festival and concerts.

Involving 20 ensembles across 15 venues, the 2020 festival was a huge success for Wellington, debuting as one of the first major festivals post-lockdown, and receiving an award for resilience from His Worship Mayor, Andy Foster.

The 2021 festival builds upon last year’s success with a larger scale programme including groups from Orchestra Wellington, an Opera performance by the new Opera Wellington company and a youth programme of six ensembles.



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.

Letting audiences explore and enjoy the festival at a place and schedule that suits them, Classical on Cuba aims to take the ‘high-brow’ out of classical and keeping the festival fun for all ages.

Tickets to the event and more information can be found here. Classical on Cuba will be running on Wellington’s Cuba Street from 7th – 8th August.

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