Performance Friday, December 7, 2012 | 8 PM

Venezuelan Brass Ensemble

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage

The Venezuelan Brass Ensemble, drawn from the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, opens the Venezuelan celebration at Carnegie Hall with an evening of exuberant music making that features works from Latin America and beyond.

Con el Ensamble de Metales de Venezuela, cuyos integrantes fueron seleccionados de la Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar, comienza en el Carnegie Hall la celebración a Venezuela con una velada en la que destaca una creación musical exuberante de América Latina y más allá.

O Conjunto de Metais da Venezuela, da Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar, abre a celebração venezuelana no Carnegie Hall com uma noite de música exuberante que exibe trabalhos da América Latina e de outros lugares.


  • Venezuelan Brass Ensemble
    Thomas Clamor, Conductor


  • GIANCARLO CASTRO Grand Fanfare
  • BERNSTEIN Selections from Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
  • GIANCARLO CASTRO Llegada de un noble maestro
  • CALDERELLA AND SCARPINO Canaro en Paris (arr. José Carli)
  • ABREU Tico-Tico no fubá (arr. Jhon Iveson)
  • AGUIRRE Amalia (arr. Fernando Ruiz)
  • GIANCARLO CASTRO Walking Faster
  • FÉLIX MENDOZA Guerra de secciones

  • Encores:
  • GERSHWIN "I Got Rhythm"
  • TRAD. "O Come, all ye Faithful"


  • Venezuelan Brass Ensemble

    The Venezuelan Brass Ensemble came into being in 2003 under the patronage of Dr. José Antonio Abreu and Thomas Clamor as part of the orchestral academic program of Venezuela's 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. As a result of this work, numerous successful youth ensembles have emerged. Leading the way is the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela (formerly Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela), now one of the most famous and best orchestras in the world. Most of the musicians in the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble are also members the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra.

    With its mixture of a classical and South American repertoire, the musicians of the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble impressively show their diverse skills. The first international tour under the direction of Thomas Clamor in 2005 took the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble to Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Chile. In September 2005, the ensemble performed as part of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra's third major tour of Germany; its program complemented works by Byrd, Bernstein, and Gershwin with the first performance of the Grand Fanfare for brass instruments by ensemble member Giancarlo Castro.

    In 2006, the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble released its first CD, We Got Rhythm, on EMI Classics. Since then, the ensemble has toured extensively, performing at many of the world's greatest venues and festivals, including Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms, Beethovenfest Bonn, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Konzerthaus Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Royal Festival Hall, and Salzburg Festival.

    Thomas Clamor

    Thomas Clamor studied trumpet and percussion at the Hochschule für Musik Detmold. By the time he was 23, he became the youngest musician in the Berliner Philharmoniker. Mr. Clamor also performed as a soloist and chamber musician with various ensembles. He has since taken part in numerous recordings, and also performed on many television and radio programs.

    Mr. Clamor's conducting and teaching activities have played important roles in his musical creativity. Beginning in 1987, he has enjoyed guest professorships at music schools throughout Germany, during which he led many international master classes. For 10 years, Mr. Clamor was a professor of chamber music at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler and later an honorary professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

    Guest conducting engagements have taken Mr. Clamor to the most important European festivals, including the Beethovenfest Bonn, Salzburg, and BBC Proms. He has also conducted in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Tokyo, Beijing, Rome, Madrid, and many other cities.

    Mr. Clamor's work with the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble is highly acclaimed by both audiences and critics alike. Internationally, he is considered to be one of the most successful specialists in the genre. Mr. Clamor is also the primary conductor of the Saxon Wind Philharmonic and art director of the German Brass Academy.

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About the Program

The Venezuelan Brass Ensemble kicks off tonight's concert with a high-energy fanfare written by one of the ensemble's own trumpeters Giancarlo Castro. Opening with pealing trumpets, Grand Fanfare showcases all the instruments in the ensemble to generate an exuberant energy, as well as to paint dramatic vistas of the Venezuelan countryside. The ensemble also performs two other pieces by Castro: Llegada de un noble maestro and Walking Faster.

Following the brilliant opening are selections from Bernstein's West Side Story. A musical retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, this timeless tale of young love set against a background of spectacularly choreographed gang warfare in New York City has found a place at the core of popular culture. About three years after the show began its Broadway run, the composer revisited the score and extracted nine sections to create what he called the Symphonic Dances; the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble performs selections from this instrumental arrangement.

The program includes a bracing tango by musicians Juan Caldarella and Alejandro Scarpino. After having written this piece together in Buenos Aires, Caldarella and Scarpino were struggling to come up with a title. As the story goes, they saw the headlines of a local newspaper that praised the success of tango celebrity Francisco Canaro in Paris. Inspired by this headline, Caldarella rushed to inscribe the score with the title Canaro en Paris.

Tico-Tico no fubá is one of the most well-known songs from Venezuela's neighbor, Brazil. Made famous when Brazilian film star Carmen Miranda sang and danced to the catchy tune in the 1947 movie Copacabana, Zequinha de Abreu's song has since been featured in Disney film segments and even in Woody Allen's Radio Days. With a name that means "sparrow on the cornmeal," Tico-Tico no fubá is written in the signature Brazilian style called choro, featuring upbeat rhythms, virtuosic improvisation, and jaunty syncopation.

This is followed by the nationalistic joropo titled Amalia by Venezuelan composer Francisco de Paula Aguirre. With robust folk rhythms and lyrical melodies, joropo music is strongly identified with Venezuelan culture. Born in Caracas, Aguirre composed works that disseminated into Venezuelan popular culture; his piece Amalia is one of his most well-known works today.

A flamboyant piece by Venezuelan Brass Ensemble percussionist Félix Mendoza brings tonight's program to a close. Opening with sweeping orchestration and dramatic fanfare, Guerra de secciones breaks out into intense drumming and aggressive brass lines. Bringing together a wealth of genres and overflowing with impressive energy, this flashy showstopper is a thrilling end to the evening.


The Venezuelan Brass Ensemble performs Leonard Bernstein's "Mambo" from West Side Story.

The Venezuelan Brass Ensemble performs Pedro Elías Gutiérrez's "Alma Llanera."

The Venezuelan Brass Ensemble performs "I Got Rhythm" by George Gershwin.

Gustavo Dudamel and Osvaldo Golijov on Latin American composers.

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

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

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.

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