Monday, December 31, 2012

OSL in December Part 1: El Sistema

Here’s what I told Matt at the beginning of December: you’re not going to see a whole lot of me in the next couple of weeks. Basically, when the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra comes to town, it’s one big party, and I was thrilled to spend as much time as possible with all of the people I love and admire who are a part of this movement.

Symposium in Philadelphia, Dec. 3-5
Mark, Jose, and I met up for a Symposium on El Sistema, hosted by Stanford Thompson and Play on Philly. Sistema Fellow Elaine Sandoval wrote an excellent article on the Symposium which can be found in the January 2013 issue of The Ensemble. 

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December 8, Discovery Day at Carnegie Hall
Dress rehearsal of SBSOV. The Revueltas was like a force of nature. What a percussion section!

Really, check this movement out: 

Following the rehearsal was Discovery Day at Carnegie Hall. Keynote by Leon Botstein, follwed by the Dudamel movie, and a panel with Abreu and Dudamel, moderated by Jeremy Geffen.

Afterward, Ann Gregg gathered the nucleo leaders and myself to meet in a back room with Maestro Abreu and Gustavo Dudamel. Jose Luis Hernandez Estrada was there, and it was so meaningful for me to sit next to him only months after our trip to Venezuela and be able to share our intention to connect the existing programs in NYC as well as start our own nucleo. While I was busy with OSL making a case for supporting Sistema programs, Jose Luis wrote a new book about Sistema. And he’s become close with Abreu, as an ambassador to Mexican nucleos. I’m so proud of that guy.

From left: Julie Davis, Avi Mehta, me, Jose Luis, and Maestro Abreu, meeting in Caracas in April 2012

The spirit in the room was palpable – everyone seemed a little nervous and very excited to share their programs and plans with the Maestros. Gustavo stood there looking pretty pleased. And it gave me great joy to share with Maestro Abreu where we’ve arrived since I last saw him in April. He encouraged us to continue to work together and start an association in NYC to be able to help each other collectively, like by launching an instrument campaign that would benefit all of our programs. He said he would help in any way he could. That man has a sparkle in his eyes, and when he says something, you can pretty much believe that he’ll follow through. What an extraordinary day.


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