Starting Thursday, I’ll be away for several days as I’ve been invited to Caracas, Venezuela to follow Benjamin Zander and the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra at the New England Conservatory as they perform along side the Venezuelan National Youth Orchestra.
Although the trip has been put together last minute, I’m fully expecting it to be a very rewarding experience. Furthermore, the trip should produce some timely follow up material to the articles about American Youth Orchestras published last week by the Partial Observer.
Although I’m still learning about all of the details myself, I understand there’s been some significant growth in the active participation of classical music throughout Venezuela and Caracas in particular. Their youth orchestra and music education program is said to be an outstanding program and is beginning to produce some excellent performers. For example, a 17 year old bass player from the program recently won a position in the Berlin Philharmonic.
I’m anxious to learn more about their program and how it’s impacting their society as well as beginning to see if many of the “excuses” used here by some managers and consultants behind why classical music is falling from the cultural consciousness hold any water south of the equator. You’ll have to wait until I return before I can elaborate on that.
I’ll be away from Thursday through Sunday, but hopefully I’ll be able to locate some internet access and post a few on location reports.