Cuban Crossing


Catherine Litaker is a founding member of the Chicago Harp Quartet. She has performed across the globe as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Experiencing Cuba on and off stage

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Chicago Harp Quartet visited Cuba May 29–June 8, 2017, less than two years after the U.S. reopened diplomatic relations with the island country. We asked Quartet member Catherine Litaker to give us a look behind the scenes of the group’s historic visit.


It was still dark at 4:00 a.m. when Emily and I, still half asleep, took an Uber to the Chicago airport. We breezed through security, found the other half of our quartet, and boarded a plane to Miami to catch our connecting flight to our final destination: Havana, Cuba. On arrival, we were greeted by our Cuban liaison, Anabel, staff from Cuba’s Music Institute, and some hot, sticky air. After the requisite customs and security, we took a van to our casa particular (Cuba’s version of a bed and breakfast) run by our wonderful host, Mara. We had made it.

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