UM’s Cuban Heritage Collection Celebrates the Legacy of Maestro Manuel Ochoa

by Rosa Monzon, Cuban Heritage Collection

The exhibit includes a digital component through which viewers can watch videos of performances conducted by Maestro Ochoa.

The exhibition includes a digital component through which viewers can watch videos of Ochoa’s performances.

Maestro Manuel Ochoa, a Cuban exile musician, choral and orchestra conductor, and founder of the Miami Symphony Orchestra, was the focus of a reception at the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC), at the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library. The event served as the official launch of an exhibition that includes Ochoa’s greatest works and documented memories, which are preserved and available for research at the CHC in the Manuel Ochoa Papers.

Ochoa is recognized internationally not only for his numerous contributions to classical Cuban music in the island but also his work in Spain, Austria, and the United States.

Curated by Meiyolet Mendez, librarian at the CHC, the exhibition displays photographs, letters, publications, music scores, and concert programs of Ochoa’s personal life and career. Included is a photograph from the beginning of Ochoa’s career, at the age of 17, conducting members of the Holguin Choral Society, which he created in 1942, even before he had any formal training. Another photograph shows Ochoa leading the Belen Jesuit Choir in Havana years later. Ochoa’s lesson plans and notes on working with child choir singers also are on display.

“One of the most exciting parts of working on this exhibit was the opportunity to bring to life Maestro Ochoa’s entire career,” said Mendez. “I discovered a person who was passionate about music and music education, and who loved sharing that passion with others.”

Also on display is a paper program of the Concierto Sacro, sponsored by the Cuban Catholic Artists Guild, featuring Ochoa’s Coro de Madrigalistas (Madrigal Choir), popularly noted as the best choir in Cuba, in 1956, Havana.

A driving force and inspiration in Ochoa’s life was always his family. One of the highlights of the exhibition is a photograph of his mother, Caridad Ochoa, who was a trained opera singer, plus a tear sheet from The Miami Herald with an article by David Lawrence Jr. celebrating Ochoa as well as his wife and biggest supporter, Sofia Ochoa.

“She was at his side every step of the way,” said their son, Manuel Ochoa Jr. “My father always said she made it easy for him to just stand at a podium and conduct.”

CHC recognized Sofia Ochoa (right) during the event.

Esperanza Bravo de Varona (left), former chair of the CHC, and current chair Maria Estorino recognized Sofia Ochoa (right) during the event.

Sofia’s unwavering support for her husband continued after his death, in 2006. She not only donated his collection but also contributed countless hours as a volunteer in the processing of these records.

“When my mother and I thought about how we would remember and commemorate my father, we wanted a living memorial,” said Ochoa Jr. “We wanted to share his life story so that others, especially young Cubans and Cuban-Americans would be inspired to continue his musical legacy.”

After studying and working in Cuba, Vienna, Spain, and Rome, Ochoa settled in Miami following the Cuban Revolution. On display are photographs of Ochoa’s performances in Miami, such as the first Festiva Symphony Concert at the Colonel Hotel in 1989. There is also a photograph of acclaimed Cuban pianist Zenaida Manfugás, from the same concert.

In Miami Ochoa also created the Society of Arts and Culture of Americas, but his greatest contribution to the city’s cultural development was the creation and leadership of the Miami Symphony Orchestra for more than 25 years. Multiple playbills from its concerts are displayed in the CHC’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, as well as audio and videos of performances.

Guests at the reption.

The celebration of Ochoa’s life and legacy took place at CHC’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, where the Manuel Ochoa Papers are now permanently housed and available for research.

Considered “the highlight of his tenure with the orchestra,” said Ochoa Jr., was a concert in Carnegie Hall in June of 2000, also represented in the exhibition.

“Maestro Ochoa’s legacy lives on in the Miami Symphony Orchestra he founded and in the lives that he touched through his various cultural activities,” said Maria Estorino, chair of the CHC. “But it also lives on here, in the library, where through his own papers, his life, his work, and his passion can be discovered.”

The CHC is home to thousands of books, manuscripts, photographs, and other materials that document the rich history and culture of Cuba and its diaspora. The legacy of Maestro Manuel Ochoa, as well as countless other Cubans and Cuban-Americans, “will not only be preserved here, but it will be shared with our students and with the community,” said Estorino.

“I hope the Maestro Manuel Ochoa Collection continues to inspire and educate future generations to become musicians and conductors, and keep alive the rich tradition of classical music,” Ochoa Jr. said.

The exhibition is available for viewing through the end of summer. For more information about the Cuban Heritage Collection and its events, please visit

View more photos from the event here.

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.

The exhibit will be available at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion through summer 2015.

The exhibition is on view at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion through the end of the summer.

Now on Display: Ochoa: Remembering the Life and Legacy of Maestro Manuel Ochoa


We invite you to visit the exhibition currently on display in the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion on the second floor of the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library.

Drawing from his personal papers, this exhibition commemorates the life and work of Cuban-born conductor and orchestra director Manuel Ochoa (1925-2006), whose passion for music led him from Cuba to Austria and Spain and back. In exile, he worked with other Cuban artists to bring to life the traditional music of Cuba and Spain, most notably through the Miami Symphony Orchestra, which he founded and led for almost two decades.

Stay tuned in the coming months for activities related to our spring exhibit. Follow CHC to keep in touch.

This Space, This Place: the UM Face of Data Visualization

TSTP-button_compositeby Sarah Block, Library Communications

Computerized contours of varying greens, blues, and oranges form Sean Ahearn’s depiction of Shark Bay, an Australian oceanic wilderness that few visitors are known to have set foot in, and that the Rosenstiel marine geology geophysics graduate student recently explored for six weeks.

The changing colors on the map represent information from sediments he’s collected throughout the region, which thrives as host to some of the oldest living fossils in the world.

And yet it isn’t so much the geochemistry itself, but the visual strategies used to present his work, that make Ahearn’s project a core element of UM Libraries’ This Space, This Place, an exhibition that grew out of the Libraries’ role as co-host to the Places & Spaces: Mapping Science exhibition, which debuted on campus September 4. Planning for the arrival of the nationally touring exhibition spurred efforts to acquire equipment and furniture, redesign spaces, and create the “local” parallel exhibition, which has taken on a life of its own.

This Space, This Place shows how the Libraries are forging partnerships and initiatives that enhance the depth and delivery of research,” says Dean of Libraries Charles Eckman. A wide range of locally created or collected data visualizations will be featured on the first and second floors of Richter Library throughout the fall along with half of the world-traveling collection of images and all 3-D and interactive elements of Places & Spaces.


Visualization for tool created at the Department of Computer Science to aid in the study of ancient manuscripts.

Maps and diagrams featured in This Space, This Place communicate ideas from across the academic landscape, including fields of medicine, geography and regional studies, communications, and political science.

“It’s about pushing the boundaries of data visualization,” says Education and Outreach Librarian Terri Robar, who with colleague Lisa Baker helped coordinate the installation of Places & Spaces and lead the organization of the local exhibition.

Innovative techniques can be found in displays such as the video map at the Digital Media Lab, which uses satellite imagery and immersive original oceanic footage to shed light on the endangered reefs and channels of Biscayne National Park.

A touchscreen map presented by the Cuban Heritage Collection allows viewers to explore Cuban cities, towns, and countryside at the turn of the twentieth century. The Collection curated the historical photos, which were then geo-located with the assistance of the Libraries’ geographic information systems (GIS) consultant Chance Scott.

Ahearn’s project, displayed on the second floor, also involved the use of GIS tools to create the topographical-like maps marking his progress towards an environmental profile of Shark Bay. Using the program ArcGIS, he was able to visually shape and categorize the extensive data he had collected in the region. “The goal is understanding conditions that form this very unique marine environment,” he said.


A simulation from a project at the Miller School of Medicine showing the activation of a drug for treating spinal cord injury.

Education & Outreach Librarian Lisa Baker says that GIS programs are growing in popularity among ’Canes conducting research with a geographical component.

“Most researchers are aware of the different visualization resources available to them, but they are still often surprised by what these tools can do for their own research,” says Baker, who supervises the GIS Lab at Richter Library and leads workshops during the year introducing researchers to various mapping software.


UM Libraries offers a range of data visualization and GIS resources, including books, workshops, and one-on-one assistance at the GIS Lab.

The Libraries system is planning to expand GIS and visualization services with upcoming recruitments for a GIS services librarian and technician, Digital Humanities librarian, and visualization librarian.

But the wide range of visualizations featured in This Space, This Place also demonstrate methods used by UM researchers, outside of GIS, to transform ideas that are well beyond the realm of common knowledge into images comprehensible by a general audience.

An image inside the case at the library’s entrance captures a simulated game of soccer, demonstrating the workings of an artificial intelligence program called Robobiz, a program developed at UM’s Department of Computer Science. The case also features a microbiology-themed simulation from the Miller School of Medicine of a drug that has been developed for treating spinal cord injuries, and an innovative climate model created at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
“Because we are visual beings, visualizations can allow for comprehension and engagement in a topic with little to no background knowledge of it,” says Education & Outreach Librarian Bill Jacobs, who specializes in science resources.


Facsimile of a map of St. Louis (originally published in 1874), from the General Map Collection.

Viewers need not be familiar with Thomas Carlyle, for example, to engage with a Digital Humanities project related to the life of the Victorian-era author. Data mining of letters sent and received by Carlyle is charted in the visualization created at the Department of Computer Science, highlighting significant writing patterns discovered in the correspondence. “It’s important to be able to communicate this type of research with collaborators in other areas of the academic community,” says Mitsunori Ogihara, Associate Dean for Digital Library Innovation who’s had key involvement in the project.

The exhibition also examines the evolution of visualization tools and techniques. Visualizations from the General Map Collection (the largest map collection in South Florida) explore the remarkable past of data visualization, from topographic and road maps to geologic, historical, and thematic. “We have maps from every part of the world and even other planets,” says Robar, who oversees the Collection.

Displays from the Libraries’ Special Collections highlight an array of historic materials that demonstrate the collective knowledge of early mapmakers. “Many of the earliest maps were simply the graphic results of hearsay, of travelers’ accounts and narratives interpreted by mapmakers who had never actually seen the continent of North America,” said Special Collections Head Cristina Favretto.


“Bootlegger’s Map of the United States” (1926), from Special Collections.

In a case featuring a map from the 2004 book Eccentric Florida: A Space Alien’s Guide to the Sunshine State, recorded mermaid sightings, shark teeth discoveries, and lesser-known landmarks are a few of the elements that describe the points across the Florida landscape.

“It’s meant to inspire,” says Robar, speaking of the many types of data that has been visualized and featured in the exhibition. The scope is as wide as the data the librarians and library staff who came together to create This Space, This Place work with year-round to help researchers access (and sometimes distribute). And the possibilities for presenting it, Robar says, are endless. “This is about thinking outside the box,” she says.

This Space, This Place will run through December. The exhibition is made possible in part by the Lynda and Michael Gordon Exhibition Program.

Celebrating Irving Berlin

IrvingBerlinLegendary composer and lyricist Irving Berlin hit it big in 1911 with “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” before going on to compose over 1,000 songs and several hit musicals such as Annie Get Your Gun. His tunes are an important part of the Great American Songbook.

To honor this great American songwriter on the 25th anniversary of his death, the Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library is pleased to present a selection of sheet music from the Larry Taylor-Billy Matthews Musical Theater Archive, accompanied by some of Berlin’s most popular musical films. The exhibit will run through the end of the semester.

Materials on View

The Cuban Heritage Collection has contributed books, photographs, documents, and original art from our holdings to four external exhibitions on view this fall. If you see our materials at any of these, snap a photograph and tag us on Instagram or Twitter @UMCHC.

Wifredo Lam: Imagining New Worlds at the Boston College McMullen Museum of Art, August 30-December 14, 2014, at the High Museum of Art Atlanta, February 14-May 24, 2015

Margarita Cano: Once Upon an Island at the Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus Centre Gallery, September 4-October 31, 2014

Kept at Bay: Art on Guantánamo at Florida International University’s Frost Art Museum, September 10-October 19, 2014

The Exile Experience: Journey to Freedom at Miami-Dade College Museum of Art + Design at Freedom Tower, opening on September 19, 2014


CHC Examines Cuban Rafter Crisis through a Digital Lens

In our ongoing commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the Cuban Rafter Crisis, the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) is launching two online resources providing a close examination of the crisis and critical events surrounding the largest exodus from Cuba since the Mariel Boatlift of 1980.


“Between Despair and Hope”

This month CHC unveiled the new online exhibition, “Between Despair and Hope: Cuban Rafters at the U.S. Naval Base Guantánamo Bay, 1994-1996.” This digital display draws principally from the Collection’s holdings of photographs, documents, ephemera, and objects that together offer insight into the experience of Cubans detained at the base between 1994 and 1996 after attempting to reach the United States on rafts and other make-shift vessels. The physical installation of the exhibition was first hosted in the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion in the fall semester of 2004 to mark the tenth anniversary of the crisis.

“The exhibition allows us the opportunity to leverage the wealth of information and primary sources in the Collection to support a broader understanding of the Cuban Rafter Crisis of 1994,” says CHC Chair Maria Estorino Dooling.


“The Cuban Rafter Phenomenon”

The Collection has additionally launched a redesign of “The Cuban Rafter Phenomenon” site also developed in 2004. Originally created by Dr. Holly Ackerman (now at Duke University Libraries) and Dr. Ray Uzwyshyn (now at Texas State University Libraries) as a Libraries digital initiative, CHC took over site management a few years ago. The interactive site provides a look at the Cuban Rafter Crisis in a larger Caribbean context using maps, timelines, photographs, and videos.

The implementation of these digital initiatives is the result of collaboration between CHC and the Libraries’ Digital Collections and Web and Emerging Technologies teams. “Collaborative efforts such as these support one of the Libraries’ very important missions of providing global access to the historic materials held in our unique and distinctive collections,” says Dean of Libraries Charles Eckman. “These new resources also serve as teaching and learning tools that have relevance across the academic landscape.”

The launch of these sites is meant to coincide with the Guantanamo Public Memory Project exhibit in Miami, currently at the Little Haiti Cultural Center and at the University of Miami at the end of September.




Exhibition Puts Spotlight on the Cuban Engineer


CHC Chair María Estorino Dooling, Helena Solo-Gabriele (UM College of Engineering), Pete Martínez (ACE), Delfín Molins (CAACE), Victor Pujals (President of CAACE), Dean Amir Mirmiran (FIU College of Engineering and Computing), Amigos Chair Aldo Leiva.

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

It’s all about innovation this summer at the University of Miami Libraries Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC), where the exhibition “Honoring the Cuban Engineer” is now on view. The exhibition, organized with the Association of Cuban Engineers (ACE) and the Cuban-American Association of Civil Engineers (CAACE), highlights works of Cuban engineers that have broken new ground in Cuba and in the United States.


The exhibition highlights works of Cuban engineers that have broken new ground in Cuba and in the United States.

Featuring historical resources from CHC and materials lent from its partnering organizations, “Honoring the Cuban Engineer” highlights some of the wonders of Cuban engineering, from early water systems such as the 1938 Dam of Charco Mono, to IBM’s first personal computer, which was released in 1981 with the support of fifty Cuban-American engineers.

More than one hundred community members attended the exhibition’s June 28 opening reception, where they heard from leading engineering professionals and scholars, including Pete Martínez, incoming president of ACE, Delfin Molins of CAACE, Helena Solo-Gabriele of UM’s College of Engineering, and José Mitrani of FIU’s College of Engineering.

“We’re here to honor the Cuban engineer of yesterday, today, and tomorrow,” said Pete Martínez, from the podium at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion. “But we pay special homage to those that made the transition from Cuba to the United States leaving everything except their values, their commitment, and their education.”


Pete Martínez, María Estorino Dooling, Agustin Recio (UM College of Engineering), Helena Solo-Gabriele, Gonzalo Sanchez (ACE).

CHC Chair Maria R. Estorino noted how fitting it was for the Collection to host an event like this one to honor the Cuban engineer, alluding to Roberto C. Goizueta, the namesake of CHC’s home and the foundation that has provided support for many of the Collection’s initiatives. “Mr. Goizueta is known for his business leadership and acumen as CEO of The Coca-Cola Company from 1981 until his death in 1997, but he began his career in the technical department of The Coca-Cola Company in Cuba as a chemical engineer,” said Estorino.

Support for the event was provided by the Association of Cuban Engineers, Cuban-American Association of Civil Engineers, UM’s College of Engineering, FIU’s College of Engineering, and the Amigos of the Cuban Heritage Collection. The open bar at the event was provided courtesy of Bacardi. “Honoring the Cuban Engineer” will run through December.

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.

Pete Martínez from the Association of Cuban Engineers

Pete Martínez from the Association of Cuban Engineers.

In Search of Freedom: Cuban Exiles and the Cuban Refugee Program

University of Miami Libraries Digital Collections and the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) have launched In Search of Freedom, a digital exhibit with forty-two photographs and publications illustrating the early years of the Cuban Refugee Program. Items were selected from Cuban Refugee Center Records, a large and significant CHC collection described in this Finding Aid.

The exhibit is arranged to contextualize the activities of the Cuban Refugee Program in the early 1960s through the initial years of its operation. The Program was created by the US Government to help manage the scale and impact of a large number of political exiles arriving in South Florida from Cuba in a relatively short period of time. Located in downtown Miami, Program facilities provided needed aid to individuals and families in the form of language classes, job training, child services, medical services, and food banks. In addition, the Cuban Refugee Program created the infrastructure and procedures required to accomplish the relocation / resettlement of clients to areas in the United States outside South Florida.

The Cuban Refugee Program closed in 1994, after more than three decades of providing assistance to many thousands of refugees.

In Search of Freedom

In Search of Freedom

The In Search of Freedom website was created using Omeka, an open source software platform, developed by the History and New Media Center, George Mason University, to enable cultural heritage institutions, scholars, archives and libraries to efficiently develop and manage digital narratives, exhibits, and collections.

AEON is a service of the University of Miami Libraries that allows researchers to submit requests for items at UM Libraries Special Collections, the Cuban Heritage Collection, and University Archives. Item descriptions for “In Search of Freedom” provide links to AEON, and visitors may request to view a copy of the original photograph or document at the Otto G. Richter Library, or request a digital reproduction of the original.

Additional images from the Cuban Refugee Center Records are available on the University of Miami Libraries Digital Collections website: Cuban Refugee Center Records. For more information, please contact the Cuban Heritage Collection at 305-284-4900 or

75th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz

OzSmallThe Wizard of Oz premiered August 25, 1939. Based on the 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, the film follows Dorothy Gale from her home in Kansas to the Technicolor Land of Oz. With her faithful dog, Toto, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion “follow the yellow brick road” to the Emerald City and beyond.

Noted for its mastery of set design, effects, music, and narrative, The Wizard of Oz has become a cherished classic in the American film canon.

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of this treasured film classic, the Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library is pleased to present a selection of materials from the University of Miami Libraries. These include books, scores, vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, and promotional materials. Come take a trip “over the rainbow” to the Land of Oz!