Jose Silvestre White Lafitte was a Cuban violinist and composer born on January 17, 1836 (Brahms was 3 years old.) Some sources give December 31, 1835 as his date of birth (an indication that record keeping can sometimes get sloppy.) He began studying as a child and later studied at the Paris Conservatory (1855-1871) because of encouragement and financial assistance he received from American pianist-composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Delphin Alard (Pablo Sarasate's teacher) was his teacher at the conservatory. Lafitte later taught for a year at the same conservatory when Alard took a leave of absence. Later, he was made Director of the Imperial Conservatory in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1877-1889) after which he returned to Paris. He concertized in Europe, Latin America, and in the U.S., where he performed with some of the major orchestras (including the New York Philharmonic) in 1875. His most famous composition is La Bella Cubana. His long-neglected violin concerto has been recorded by Rachel Barton on the Cedille label. Lafitte also wrote a string quartet and other small chamber works. He died in Paris on March 12, 1918, at age 82.