Venezuela cancels Dudamel’s tour with its national youth orchestra after he criticizes government

Posted on: August 22, 2017

“The Venezuelan government has canceled [conductor Gustavo] Dudamel’s upcoming tour of the United States with the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela,” writes Michael Cooper in Monday’s (8/21) New York Times. “Mr. Dudamel, who is the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, said on Twitter that the cancellation of the planned tour was ‘heartbreaking.’ … The cancellation was first reported by El Nacional, which reported that the decision came from the office of the country’s president, Nicolás Maduro. It came days after Mr. Maduro openly mocked Mr. Dudamel, who is arguably Venezuela’s most important cultural export—and who, as the product of the El Sistema music program, has been an international symbol of the power of the nation’s government-supported social programs.… Mr. Dudamel apparently drew the president’s ire with his increasingly forceful pronouncements about the crisis in Venezuela—pronouncements which came after he faced criticism in some quarters for trying to avoid being drawn into discussions of Venezuelan politics.… The youth orchestra and Mr. Dudamel had been scheduled to play in September at Wolf Trap in Virginia, the Ravinia Festival in Illinois, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Greek Theater in Berkeley, Calif.”

Posted August 22, 2017

Pictured: Gustavo Dudamel leading the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. Photo by Rainer Maillard / Deutsche Grammophon