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Caracas gives L.A. conductor a hero’s welcome
Question of the Day
They are performing a series of Gustav Mahler’s symphonies and giving a boost to the famed Venezuelan music teaching program known as “El Sistema.” Mr. Dudamel is a product of the program, which has brought music education to children throughout the barrios of Venezuela.
Virtuosos from the L.A. Philharmonic have taken time to teach young musicians in the orchestra program, and have raved about it.
“The learning for me is really to feel the passion from these young artists,” said Bing Wang, a 44-year-old violinist originally from Shanghai who is the orchestra’s associate concert master. “I have never been here, but I feel through Gustavo and through music we are all connected.”
The sold-out audience in Teresa Carreno Theater applauded enthusiastically for several minutes. In the crowd were young musicians carrying instrument cases who have studied for most of their lives in El Sistema.
Mr. Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic won a Grammy on Sunday for best orchestral performance for Brahms’ Symphony No. 4.
Fans who couldn’t get tickets watched the concert on a large screen set up on a terrace outside the concert hall.
“It’s been truly an experience, every day something different,” said Vivian Gonzalez, a 60-year-old retiree who hasn’t missed a concert in the series.
The finale comes on Saturday night, when Mahler's Symphony No. 8 will be performed by more than 1,000 musicians, including hundreds of young singers, the L.A. Philharmonic and Venezuela’s Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra. The performance will be broadcast, both live and delayed, to movie theaters in parts of the U.S. as well as Argentina, Colombia and Brazil. Theaters in Arlington, Alexandria, McLean and Fairfax in Virginia and Bowie and Columbia, Md., are scheduled to participate in the broadcast.
It’s the first time the L.A. Philharmonic has performed in Venezuela. Mr. Dudamel, who is in his third season as the orchestra’s music director, has said it was a dream for him to lead both orchestras in Venezuela for this concert series.
By Matt Kibbe
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