Whenever the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and its charismatic conductor Gustavo Dudamel perform, they receive a highly enthusiastic welcome from audiences and critics alike. At just twenty-six, Dudamel has already been Musical Director of the youth orchestra for eight years and is acknowledged as one of the most important conductors of his generation. However, this is not just the story of some prodigy. Dudamel himself describes music as a „social life-saver” and it is true that he and the orchestra are top of the bill in a unique music programme which may seem more than a little strange in the countries of origin of traditional concert culture.
The 220 musicians who belong to the orchestra are from all over Venezuela. The youngest member is fifteen, the oldest twenty-three years old. The Bolívar Youth Orchestra owes its existence to the musician, economist and politician José Antonio Abreu. In 1975 he was gripped by the vision of offering children living in poverty a new perspective on life through music.
Despite several changes in government his state-funded network of music schools, the „Fundación del Estado para el Sistema de Orquesta Juvenil e Infantil de Venezuela” (or FESOJIV), continues to be successful in pulling young people out of difficult and criminal situations and showing them the way to a new life. There are now around 30 professional orchestras, 125 youth orchestras, about 15,000 music teachers and a quarter of a million pupils receiving musical training.
All of the tour concerts by the „Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana Simón Bolívar” are sold out six months prior to their taking place. That applies to their appearance at the 2007 Beethoven Festival in Bonn as well, which featured Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3
, the „Eroica” and repertoire from South American composers. The concert has also been recorded and both, the documentary and the concert are released on DVD by Deutsche Grammophon.
The film is directed by Enriquez Sanchez Lansch who has realised one of the most touching music films of recent years “Rhythm Is It!”; his new riveting film “The Reich Orchestra. The Berlin Philharmonics during National Socialism” hits the theatres right now.
Category: Best Documentary