Performance Tuesday, December 11, 2012 | 8 PM

Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
The charismatic Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela thrill audiences worldwide with their ecstatic energy and contagious enthusiasm. On this concert, they dive into the deep wells of Latin America’s classical music tradition with such works as Villa-Lobos’s Chôros No. 10—a monumental piece of Brazilian musical nationalism that was a huge hit at its 1926 premiere in Rio de Janeiro—and Estévez’s Cantata criolla, a portrait of the Venezuelan spirit.

El carismático Gustavo Dudamel y la Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar de Venezuela emocionan a públicos en todo el mundo con su fabulosa energía y su contagioso entusiasmo. El programa seleccionado para este concierto se sumerge en los pozos profundos de la tradición de la música clásica de América Latina con obras como Chôros No. 10 de Villa-Lobos—una obra monumental del nacionalismo musical brasileño que gozó de gran éxito desde su estreno en 1926 en Río de Janeiro—y Cantata criolla de Estévez, un retrato del espíritu venezolano.

O carismático Gustavo Dudamel e a Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar da Venezuela vem emocionando plateias no mundo inteiro, com a sua energia e seu entusiasmo contagiante. Neste concerto, eles mergulham nas profundezas da tradição musical clássica da América Latina com trabalhos tais como os Chôros No. 10 de Villa-Lobos—uma obra monumental do nacionalismo musical brasileiro que foi um grande sucesso, estreando em 1926 no Rio de Janeiro—e a Cantata criolla de Estévez, um retrato do espírito venezuelano.


  • Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela
  • Gustavo Dudamel, Music Director and Conductor
  • Idwer Álvarez, Tenor
  • Gaspar Colón, Baritone
  • Westminster Symphonic Choir
    Joe Miller, Conductor


  • ESTEBAN BENZECRY Chaac (Maya Water God) from Rituales Amerindios
  • VILLA-LOBOS Chôros No.10
  • ESTÉVEZ Cantata criolla

  • Encores:
  • GINASTERA "Malambo" from Estancia
  • BERNSTEIN "Mambo" from West Side Story
  • GUTIERREZ "Alma Llanera"


  • Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela

    The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela (SBSOV) was founded by Dr. José Antonio Abreu and a group of fellow musicians who were inspired by the ideals of Simón Bolívar. The orchestra comprises more than 200 young musicians ages 18-28, and is the flagship of the Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar's orchestral academic program, known as El Sistema.

    Across Venezuela, El Sistema currently involves 400,000 beneficiaries-75 percent of whom live below the poverty line-in a system that includes more than 1,550 music groups distributed among 286 academic centers. "For the children that we work with, music is practically the only way to a dignified social destiny. Poverty means loneliness, sadness, anonymity. An orchestra means joy, motivation, teamwork, the aspiration to success," says Dr. Abreu.

    El Sistema allows the musicians of the SBSOV to explore demanding repertoire through master classes and concerts, involving soloists from leading orchestras and arts institutions, such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, Sibelius Academy of Finland, Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart, and New England Conservatory. Their work with international conductors has included performances with Sir Simon Rattle and Claudio Abbado, as well as working for months with Gustavo Dudamel, the orchestra's music director and a product of El Sistema.

    The SBSOV has toured Germany several times, and performed at the Parco della Musica in Rome, Teatro Massimo in Palermo, and Lucerne Easter Festival. In the summer of 2007, it appeared at the BBC Proms, Edinburgh Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, and Semperoper Dresden. Later that year, the SBSOV toured to Mexico, Spain, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Carnegie Hall, where the orchestra was conducted by Mr. Dudamel and Mr. Rattle as part of the Berlin in Lights festival. In 2008, the SBSOV performed in residency at the Salzburg Festival and made its Asian debut with concerts in Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, and Hiroshima. The following year, the orchestra made its Canadian debut to celebrate the awarding of the Glenn Gould Prize to Dr. Abreu.

    Appearances in 2010 included a residency at the Lucerne Festival, a major European tour, and a Latin American tour to mark the bicentennial of the region's independence. Between January and February 2012, the SBSOV participated in a three-week residency at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, alternating with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in performances of Mahler's nine symphonies as part of The Mahler Project led by Mr. Dudamel. This program culminated in Caracas, with concerts by both orchestras at the Teatro Teresa Carreño. In June and July, the SBSOV performed at Stirling Castle in Scotland as part of the Cultural Olympiad, framed within the celebration of the London Olympics.

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  • Gustavo Dudamel

    Dynamic conductor Gustavo Dudamel's passionate music-making invigorates audiences of all ages worldwide. Concurrently serving as music director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the impact of his musical leadership is felt on several continents.

    While his commitment to his music director posts in the United States and Venezuela accounts for the major portion of his yearly schedule, Mr. Dudamel also guest conducts with some of the world's greatest musical institutions. This season, he returns to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, and La Scala in both opera and concert, along with appearances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, Israel Philharmonic, Santa Cecilia Orchestra, and Gothenburg Symphony. Mr. Dudamel is in his fourth season as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he has extended the orchestra's reach to an unprecedented extent through LA Phil LIVE, experimental theater-casts of concerts, and Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), influenced by Venezuela's widely successful El Sistema. With YOLA, Mr. Dudamel brings music to children in the underserved communities of Los Angeles, and also serves as an inspiration for similar efforts throughout the United States, as well as for programs in Sweden and Scotland.

    Named one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people in 2009, Gustavo Dudamel was born in 1981 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. He began violin lessons as a child with José Luis Jiménez and Francisco Díaz at the Jacinto Lara Conservatory. He continued his violin studies with Rubén Cova and José Francisco del Castillo at the Latin American Academy of Violin. His conducting studies began in 1996 with Rodolfo Saglimbeni and, the same year, he was given his first conducting position: music director of the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra. In 1999, he was appointed music director of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra and began conducting studies with the orchestra's founder, Dr. José Antonio Abreu; a few years later in 2004, Mr. Dudamel was brought to international attention by winning the inaugural Bamberger Symphoniker Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition. These early musical and mentoring experiences molded his commitment to music as an engine for social change-a lifelong passion.

    In 2012, Gustavo and Eloisa Dudamel launched a foundation that carries their name and is dedicated to furthering music education and social justice around the world.

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  • Idwer Álvarez

    Born in Caracas, Idwer Álvarez studied music in Venezuela. His professional debut was in 1980. He has since performed with orchestras throughout Venezuela and around the world. Mr. Álvarez has sung oratorios, religious music, and choral symphonic works, ranging from Beethoven's "Choral Fantasy," Christ on the Mount of Olives, Mass in C Major, and Ninth Symphony, to Mozart's Vesperae solennes de confessore, Missa solemnis, "Coronation" Mass, and Requiem. His other performances include Haydn's Creation,   "Nelson" Mass, "Theresienmesse," and "Harmoniemesse"; Dvořák's Stabat Mater; Mendelssohn's Elijah; Handel's Messiah; Honegger's Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher; Britten's Serenade and Les illuminations; and Penderecki's "Seven Gates of Jerusalem" Symphony, Dies irae, Te Deum, and Credo.

    Mr. Álvarez is also very active in vocal chamber music, especially contemporary Latin America music-a genre in which he has premiered 37 different works. He has also performed roles in L'incoronazione di Poppea, Le nozze di Figaro, L'elisir d'amore, Lucia di Lammermoor, La traviata, Rigoletto, Aida, Macbeth, Falstaff, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, and Turandot.

    Mr. Álvarez has sung with many conductors, including Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Simon Rattle, Claudio Abbado, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Krzysztof Penderecki, Helmut Rilling, Dennis Russell Davies, and Eduardo Mata.

    Mr. Álvarez sang the tenor role in Estévez's Cantata criolla for the first time in 1987 and has since performed it 116 times all over the world, including Carnegie Hall in 1994 with the American Composers Orchestra.

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  • Gaspar Colón

    Venezuelan-American Gaspar Colón made his US debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in April 2010 under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel. He joined the Lyric Opera of Chicago in January 2012 as Amonasro in Verdi's Aida.

    Mr. Colón began his musical education with his grandfather, composer Moisés Moleiro, and his mother, renowned pianist Carmencita Moleiro. He graduated from the Conservatorio Pedro Nolasco Colón in Caracas and went on to study advanced opera techniques with Italian maestro Elio Malfatti.

    In 2005, Mr. Colón was presented with awards in the "Best Voice" and "Best Performance of an Aria" categories at the Alfredo Hollander National Competition in Venezuela. He was also selected to participate in master classes with Mirella Freni and Katia Ricciarelli.

    Among his credits, Mr. Colón has performed the roles of Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Germont in La traviata, Alfio in Cavallerla rusticana, Marcello in La bohème, Tonio in Pagliacci, Scarpia in Tosca, and the title roles in Rigoletto and Gianni Schicchi. As a soloist, his most acclaimed performances have been in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Fauré's Requiem, and Walton's Belshazzar's Feast. Through his numerous festival and recital appearances, he also introduces Venezuelan and Latin American repertoire to new audiences.

    Mr. Colón has performed with such acclaimed conductors as Gustavo Dudamel, Rodolfo Saglimbeni, Dante Ranieri, Alfredo Rugeles, Felipe Izcaray, and Angelo Pagliuca. His career has taken him to Italy's Parco della Musica, Teatro degli Arcimboldi, and Maschio Angioino; Greece's Megaron; Colombia's Medellín Metropolitan Theatre; Cuba's García Lorca Auditorium; Ecuador's Bolivar Theater; and the most important theaters in Venezuela.

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  • Westminster Symphonic Choir

    Recognized as one of the world's leading choral ensembles, the Westminster Symphonic Choir has recorded and performed with major orchestras under virtually every internationally acclaimed conductor of the past 77 years. Led by conductor Joe Miller, director of choral activities at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, the ensemble is composed of all the juniors and seniors and half of the graduate students at the college.

    The choir has performed Verdi's Requiem 11 times, including performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Eugene Ormandy in 1964 and 1965. Two other performances of the Requiem have been televised: A 1980 concert with the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Zubin Mehta, was the first choral performance featured on a Live From Lincoln Center broadcast; a 2002 Great Performances broadcast, featuring the choir with the New Jersey Symphony and conductor Zdeněk Mácal, was a memorial observing the first anniversary of September 11.

    The choir has sung more than 350 performances with the New York Philharmonic alone. Recent seasons have also included concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle, the Dresden Staatskapelle and Daniel Harding, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and David Robertson, the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas, the Staatskapelle Berlin and Pierre Boulez, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Mariss Jansons. The choir's 2012-2013 season includes Berg's Wozzeck with the London Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen, Villa-Lobos's Chôros No. 10 and Estévez's Cantata criolla with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and Gustavo Dudamel, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim, and Mendelssohn's Elijah with the Westminster Festival Orchestra conducted by Dr. Miller.

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This concert and the Choral Classics series are made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for choral music established by S. Donald Sussman in memory of Judith Arron and Robert Shaw.

Lead funding for Voices from Latin America is provided by grants from the Ford Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Sponsored, in part, by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Mercantil Servicios Financieros.

Public support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Consulate General of Brazil in New York.


Villa-Lobos's Chôros No. 10
Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela | Eduardo Mata, Conductor
Dorian Recordings

At a Glance

Tonight's concert celebrates the music of South America—not just any music of South America, but nationalistic music that portrays the culture, traditions, folklore, and mythology of its respective countries.

The concert begins with Chaac, a colorful, mystical portrait of the Mayan Water God by Argentinian composer Esteban Benzecry. Next, Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos's Chôros No. 10 cinematically paints the landscape of the Amazonian forest while using a popular song of the composer's time. The concert finishes with Venezuelan composer Antonio Estévez's Cantata criolla, which digs into the Faustian legend of the singing contest between plainsman Florentino and the Devil, using elements of Gregorian chant, Latin rhythms, and witty poetic devices.

All three of works portray multiple facets—musical and otherwise—of their representative cultures. The three composers also take pride in blending Western European classical styles with the folk traditions of their own countries. Through tonight's concert, the audience is taken on a musical journey to experience many dimensions of South American society, learning not just about the music, but also about the ethos, philosophies, and soul of the continent.
Program Notes


Gustavo Dudamel and Osvaldo Golijov on the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.

Gustavo Dudamel on being a conductor.

Osvaldo Golijov on the artistry of Gustavo Dudamel.

Gustavo Dudamel and Osvaldo Golijov on Latin American composers.

Osvaldo Golijov and Gustavo Dudamel on Música nueva: New Latin American composers.

Latin American Music and Artists at Carnegie Hall: From the Carnegie Hall Archives.

This performance is part of Choral Classics, and Voices from Venezuela.

Part of