LA Phil Blog


Memorable Moments in Caracas

LA Phil keyboardist Joanne Pearce Martin gives a little one-on-one instruction to a young pianist.
LA Phil keyboardist Joanne Pearce Martin gives a little one-on-one instruction to a young pianist.

Many unforgettable memories have already been forged this week in Caracas and it’s an impossible task to summarize my impressions in a few words...but I'll try anyway with this short list:

• Maestro Abreu himself greeting us at the gate as we got off the plane!
• The unbridled enthusiasm of the Caracas audiences
• The joy in Gustavo's face as he joins together his Caracas & Los Angeles musical families in Venezuela
• The sound of a 1200+ chorus warming up in unison before our Mahler 8 rehearsal yesterday (I really can't remember the last time I did the "wave" during a rehearsal…)

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Lithgow on LA Phil LIVE – Tomorrow!


What a week!

I've joined forces with Dudamel and the LA Phil in Caracas, who have in turn joined forces with the young people of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela (also under Gustavo's direction). I'll be doing hosting duties for the LA Phil LIVE broadcast of Mahler's gargantuan 8th, the "Symphony of a Thousand," in cinemas all over the US tomorrow at 5pm EST. I also get to see two extra Mahler concerts here, to see Caracas for the first time and to hang with the big LA Phil gang like a member of the family (or I suppose more accurately like an interloper at an enormous family reunion).

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At the Sarria Nucleo

at Sarria Nucleo

Editor's note: While in Caracas, the LA Phil's VP of Marketing Shana Mathur and YOLA Manager Dan Berkowitz made an unscheduled visit to the Sarria Nucleo in a Caracas barrio. They collaborated on the following.

Sarria is located in a barrio of Caracas. It is poor and quite dangerous. It is part of a school, unlike most nucleos, that is owned and operated by the government. The children, ages 3-15, come from split homes, rampant with drugs, gangs and often abuse.

In the mornings, the school, with its peeling and crumbling walls, offers academics to its 600 students. In the afternoons, most students engage in the music program, at various levels, taught by the 26 music teachers.

entering Sorria

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Extra, Extra – Read All About It!

Photo courtesy of the LA Times

In addition to our excellent institutional sources on the ground in Caracas - who shall remain, of course, known only as "LA Phil Staff - there's no shortage of press coverage of the LA Phil's visit to Caracas.

It's a good story, after all - Gustavo Dudamel, favorite son of the famed El Sistema music education system, becomes classical music superstar and returns home to Venezuela to combine his two musical families. Add to that the fact that no major symphony orchestra has been to Caracas in over two decades and you've got a situation ripe for coverage in the press.

Gustavo with a newspaper

That said, the media coverage of the LA Phil's trip - and of Gustavo and The Mahler Project in general - has been plentiful, comprehensive and really interesting. Here's a quick sample:

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<em>El Sistema</em> In Action

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.

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Behind the Scenes with KUSC’s Brian Lauritzen

Editor's note: ClassicalKUSC's Brian Lauritzen is traveling with the LA Phil during their trip to Caracas and reporting on the orchestra's activities for the radio station. We're incredibly gratified that he took some time out of his own reporting and producing duties to pen a guest post for us. You can see his updates from Caracas by following @BrianKUSC on Twitter or at the KUSC Blog.

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A Message from the Chairman

It has been a great honor and privilege for LA Phil Board members and patrons to accompany our terrific orchestra on tour here in Caracas, Venezuela for the second half of our ambitious Mahler Project. The dual highlights of the trip for us all have been the incredible concerts performed by both the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, as well as our life changing exposure to the music and participants in Venezuela’s El Sistema social action program.

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Mahler Madness in LA – One Fan’s Story

musical notes

Editor's Note: Fan Fariba G. attended each of the 9 Mahler symphonies that made up The Mahler Project here in LA, including the performance of Mahler 8 at the Shrine Auditorium. She was kind enough to share her thoughts on Mahler with us. The above Mahler-inspired image, entitled "Mahler is Life," was provided via email by fan Elda C.

What can I say about Mahler's music? It's all about yearning, longing, gut-wrenching despair - it moves you like no other music. I think those who don't like Mahler's music are those afraid of allowing themselves to feel deep inside, to ask themselves questions of life and death and meaning. His music is abstract and can be interpreted many different ways, into many emotional layers.

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