Mexico’s Juarez Symphony offers refuge from city’s violence

Posted on: December 15, 2010

Wednesday (12/14) on the NPR website, John Burnett writes, “It’s been a rough couple of years in Juarez. Known as the murder capital of Mexico, Juarez is plagued by drug-related violence and organized crime. A quarter of the population is estimated to have fled, and thousands of businesses have closed. This year, the city even canceled its Independence Day celebration for the first time ever. But the Juarez Symphony Orchestra plays on to grateful audiences that choose violins as a refuge from violence. … Its formal name is the Symphony Orchestra of the Autonomous University of the City of Juarez—that’s the sponsoring institution. The orchestra was founded only five years ago, just before the cartel war broke out and the city began its descent into lawlessness. But that hasn’t slowed down the orchestra, which produces more operas than any other Mexican city outside of the capital. … The dynamo behind the Juarez Symphony is its 42-year-old conductor, Maestro Carlos Garcia Ruiz. He studied in Vienna, has guest-conducted orchestras around the world and also serves as director of the university’s burgeoning music program.” In last Wednesday’s (12/8) Ottawa Citizen, Juliana Cardona reported on Ciudad Juarez’s youth orchestra program.

Posted December 15, 2010