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Carnegie Hall's Opening Night Gala
Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela

Thursday, October 6, 2016 7 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
The dynamic Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela open Carnegie Hall’s 2016–2017 season with selected music for dance. Ravel’s La valse, commissioned by impresario Sergei Diaghilev, is a lushly scored waltz that morphs into a whirling dance of death. There was a riot when Le sacre du printemps, also commissioned by Diaghilev, premiered in 1913, but the savage rhythms and startling dissonance that pushed that audience to fury now drives audiences to their feet as they spontaneously stand and cheer this undisputed 20th-century masterpiece. This is a gala evening you will never forget.


Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela
Gustavo Dudamel, Music Director and Conductor


RAVEL La valse

STRAVINSKY Le sacre du printemps

BRAHMS Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G Minor

COPLAND "Hoe-Down" from Rodeo

J. STRAUSS JR. Tritsch-Tratsch Polka, Op. 214

GINASTERA "Malambo" from Estancia

BERNSTEIN "Mambo" from West Side Story


GUTIERREZ "Alma Llanera" from Aires de Venezuela (arr. José Terencio)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.

Gala Leadership

Gala Lead Chairmen
Mercedes T. Bass
Hope and Robert F. Smith 

Gala Chairmen Committee
Len and Emily Blavatnik
Blavatnik Family Foundation
Bruce and Suzie Kovner
Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis
Annette de la Renta
Sana H. Sabbagh
Beatrice Santo Domingo
Margaret and Ian Smith
Joan and Sanford I. Weill

Corporate Chairman
Dennis M. Nally
Retired Chairman,
PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd.  




Opening Night Gala Lead Sponsor: PwC

At a Glance

This concert is a showcase for intense rhythm and color. The two major works were originally commissioned as ballets by Sergei Diaghilev, the iconic Russian impresario. The violent primitivism of Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) from 1913 is a cataclysm of energy and pulse that changed the course of music, restoring the primacy of rhythm and creating a new musical emotion: Its violent, continually shifting movement carried a charge never before felt in Western concert music and that still, when performed with full intensity, sounds avant-garde. Ravel’s La valse was conceived before Le sacre du printemps and commissioned by Diaghilev as an opulent homage to the Viennese waltz. By the time Ravel completed it, the work was much darker, an apocalyptic depiction of a world trembling on the brink of World War I.


Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela

The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela (SBSOV) was founded by José Antonio Abreu. Under the music direction of Gustavo Dudamel, its members have been trained under El Sistema's orchestral academic program, and have performed under conductors of international  ...

The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela (SBSOV) was founded by José Antonio Abreu. Under the music direction of Gustavo Dudamel, its members have been trained under El Sistema's orchestral academic program, and have performed under conductors of international stature who have included Sir Simon Rattle, Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Krzysztof Penderecki, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Lorin Maazel. Between 2000 and 2015, the SBSOV toured Europe, Asia, and the Americas, appearing at festivals such as the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Semperoper Dresden, Carnegie Hall's Berlin in Lights and Voices from Latin America festivals, the Lucerne and Salzburg festivals, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Immortal Beethoven festival. The SBSOV has also performed in various world-class venues that include Royal Festival Hall in London, Vienna's Konzerthaus, Milan's Teatro alla Scala, Rome's Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.

The SBSOV has been resident orchestra at the Lucerne Festival at Easter; at Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of The Mahler Project, in which Mr. Dudamel led Mahler's completed symphonies with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the SBSOV in Los Angeles and in Caracas; the Salzburg Festival, where it became the first foreign orchestra to perform Mozart's Mass in C Minor in St. Peter's Abbey; and at Teatro alla Scala, where the orchestra gave three concerts and eight performances of La bohème, becoming the first orchestra not based at Teatro alla Scala to be featured by the prestigious opera house in one of its productions of La bohème.

The SBSOV and Mr. Dudamel are exclusive artists of Deutsche Grammophon, with which they have recorded Beethoven's Fifth and Seventh symphonies and Mahler's Fifth Symphony, a successful album titled Fiesta, and an album of works by Tchaikovsky that features the Fifth Symphony and Francesca da Rimini. In 2013, the SBSOV recorded the soundtrack of Alberto Arvelo's film El libertador under the baton of Mr. Dudamel, who composed the music. A year later, they recorded excerpts from Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela gratefully acknowledges the generous support provided by the Hilti Foundation with the purchase of instruments.

Gustavo Dudamel

Internationally renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel currently serves as music and artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and as music director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. He is motivated by a profound belief in music's power to unite and inspire, and the impact of his leadership extends from the greatest concert stages to classrooms, cinemas, and innovative digital platforms around the world. Mr. Dudamel also appears as guest conductor with some of the world's most famous musical institutions: In 2017, he tours Europe with the Berliner Philharmoniker and is the youngest-ever conductor to lead the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra's famous New Year's Concert, watched annually by more than 50 million people in 90 countries.

Now entering his eighth season with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mr. Dudamel's contract has been extended through the 2021-2022 season. At his initiative, the orchestra has dramatically expanded the scope of its community outreach programs, including the creation of the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) 10 years ago, influenced by the philosophy of Venezuela's admired El Sistema. These programs have in turn inspired similar efforts throughout the United States, as well as in Sweden (Hammarkullen) and Scotland (Raploch). Currently in his 18th season as music director of the entire El Sistema project in Venezuela, Mr. Dudamel continues to lead the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in Venezuela as well as on tour.

Recordings, broadcasts, and digital innovations are also fundamental to Mr. Dudamel's passionate advocacy for universal access to music. A Deutsche Grammophon artist since 2005, he has made numerous recordings, DVDs, and videos for the label.

Among the most decorated conductors of his generation, Mr. Dudamel received the Americas Society Cultural Achievement Award in 2016, and the 2014 Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society from the Longy School. In 2013, he was named Musical America's Musician of the Year and inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame. He received the 2010 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts from MIT, was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2009, has been named one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people, and received the 2008 Q Prize from Harvard. Mr.  Dudamel was born in 1981 in Venezuela. Access to music for all has been the cornerstone of his philosophy, both professionally and philanthropically.

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