Just like when the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela came to LA for the hometown leg of The Mahler Project, the LA Phil has a healthy-sized educational component to its trip to Venezuela for the Caracas leg of The Mahler Project.
That shouldn't come as any surprise, really - after all, our Music Director Gustavo Dudamel is a product - and no doubt the biggest stateside booster - of Venezuela's famed El Sistema music education program. The founder of that program, Maestro Abreu, came to LA for the LA Phil's inaugural Take A Stand Symposium, held from JAN 30 to FEB 1 and dedicated to spreading the principles and methods of El Sistema. The LA Phil's own Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) - both the EXPO and HOLA wings - are founded on those very principles, after all.
So it's no wonder that on this trip the LA Phil would want to see El Sistema in action on its home turf - and not only see, but dive in and participate. And that's just what the orchestra and LA Phil staff are doing down there, between a grueling rehearsal schedule - Mahler 4, 6, 10 and 1 in one 3-hour session, anyone? And yet, in addition to the rehearsals, performances, and getting much-needed rest, the LA Phil has visited the Center for Social Action Through Music, the Simón Bolívar Conservatory and various El Sistema nucleos throughout the city. And why? To spread Gustavo's notion - handed down from Maestro Abreu - that "music is a fundamental human right."
And, to hear the orchestra tell of their experiences teaching master classes, guiding coaching sessions and just plain giving inspiration to aspiring young musicians, it's a human right that's taken seriously.