Dudamel’s vision of El Sistema: a musical nation, above politics

Posted on: July 24, 2015


In Friday’s (7/24) Los Angeles Times, Mark Swed writes that Gustavo Dudamel’s “personal story as a product of Venezuela’s El Sistema education program has entered into the world’s cultural lore…. What Dudamel can’t stop talking about is having just conducted Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony in Caracas with a newly organized youth orchestra. The age of the 250 children ranges from 7 to 11. They performed the complete symphony. An 8-year-old nailed the piccolo solo in the Scherzo, one of the most difficult in the repertory…. This vigorous, inspiring performance, Dudamel says, is his answer to his critics, especially those outside Venezuela who object to his continued participation in the troubled country. ‘For me,’ he insists, ‘it’s all about the children…. The orchestra is a symbol of the union of the country.’ … For Dudamel the way to lift El Sistema above national politics is to envision it as its own nation…. Dudamel also realizes that with [El Sistema founder José Antonio] Abreu’s poor health, weightier responsibility falls on his shoulders as the face of Sistema…. ‘I will keep working for this, because it is something very important not only for my country but for the world.’ ”

Posted July 24, 2015

Pictured: Gustavo Dudamel leads the Simón Bolívar Symphony Youth Orchestra, 2014. Photo by Khalid Al Busaidi