“The beautiful and brand new Youth Orchestra of Caracas is a promise for the future of Venezuelan music.”
Maestro José Antonio Abreu
The Youth Orchestra of Caracas has now become one of the most representative orchestras of the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choruses of Venezuela, founded by Maestro José Antonio Abreu thirty-six years ago. The orchestra has one hundred and seventy-five members aged between the years of fourteen and twenty-two. These talented musicians are the heirs to an extraordinary generation that has left its mark on history – the former Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, now the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.
Together with the Simón Bolívar Conservatory of Music, it represents one of the most important achievements of “El Sistema” and has the institutional sponsorship of the Mayor of Caracas. Besides playing a symphony repertoire including highly demanding works by the most renowned composers as well as chamber music at the highest levels, the musicians also perform specific programmes of Latin American Music with a special emphasis being placed on the orchestral repertoire of Venezuelan composers.
Its Musical Director is the young musician Dietrich Paredes, one of the leading conductors of “El Sistema” with a great future, a student of Maestro José Antonio Abreu and a first violinist of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. He has performed as guest conductor with the Monagas State Symphony Orchestra, the Simón Bolívar Symphony of Táchira State, the Mérida State Symphony Orchestra, the Falcon State Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Bows of Venezuela ensemble.
The Youth Orchestra of Caracas has a special bond with Maestro Gustavo Dudamel, who was previously its Principal Conductor. Each time that he is in Venezuela, Maestro Dudamel conducts the orchestra in performances featuring highly technical works.
“2010 is coming to a close full of music and with a wonderful orchestra. Ten years ago Maestro Abreu gave me the opportunity to be the Principal Conductor of this orchestra. Today I can see and am meeting many new faces. I am impressed by the high level of all these musicians,” Gustavo Dudamel said on Sunday 19th December after conducting the orchestra at the Simón Bolívar Concert Hall of the Center for Social Action through Music, playing Ludwig van Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony in A Major and Camille Saint-Saëns’ Third “Organ” Symphony in C Minor.
The orchestra has also been led by such Venezuelan maestros as Eduardo Marturet, Florian Ebersberg, Eddy Marcano, Rubén Capriles, Edgar Pronio, Ulyses Ascanio, Manuel López, Pablo Castellanos and Rafael Payare and the international conductors Isaac Karabtchevsky from Brazil, Missa Johnouchi from Japan and Sung Kwak from Korea. Most of the greatest Venezuelan soloists have performed with the orchestra.
Its musicians have been immersed in an intensive training programme with different national and international maestros. Henning Trog, bassoon performer and member of the Berliner Philharmoniker, worked with the orchestra in February 2011 and commented that “the Youth Orchestra of Caracas has enormous potential. I have worked with it and the musicians are excellent students, they have a great ability to learn, and I’m sure we’ll see them soon on a European tour.”
2010 was very important for the consolidation of the Youth Orchestra of Caracas in Venezuela, seeing a memorable concert season at several of the most important concert venues in the nation, among them the Ríos Reyna Concert Hall of the Teresa Carreño Theater and the Simón Bolívar Concert Hall of the Center for Social Action through Music, where they performed a demanding repertoire featuring works by Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Beethoven, Saint-Saëns, Shostakovich, Mahler and Chopin among other composers.
Maestro Sunk Kwak said “I am impressed by the high level of this orchestra. I have being coming to Venezuela for the past eighteen years and each trip presents a new and pleasant surprise; one of them has been the Youth Orchestra of Caracas. I’m surprised at how quickly they have assimilated the most difficult passages. I’m sure we will soon see this great orchestra at international venues around the world.”
The orchestra also undergoes intensive training in the areas of both individual and joint rehearsals and it plays an important role in the field of chamber music through the systematic creation of several ensembles where all instrumentalists interact together.
In 2011 the orchestra made its international debut at the Bergen International Music Festival and also appeared in Oslo to astonishing acclaim; this was followed by a highly successful tour to Asia with concerts in China and South Korea. Plans for 2012 include concerts in Lisbon, Porto, Oslo, the Dvořák Prague Festival, St Petersburg, the Flanders International Festival, Vienna’s Konzerthaus and the Beethoven Festival in Bonn.