Ten minute miracle on a cold winter’s day

The cold winter has arrived – the sky is grey, darkness spreads early in the afternoon. If you need something to lift your mood I have a solution for you. I guarantee that this 10 min experience will brighten your day.
What you need to do is simple and free – open your Internet device, browse “Danzon 2 (Marquez) conducted by Dudamel” and watch and listen. It lasts less than 10 minutes and afterwards you will feel uplifting joy. 
I speak from personal experience. Some years ago I heard this dynamic, elevating music and immediately wanted to know more about the music, the orchestra and the conductor.
Danzon 2 is a musical piece for an orchestra created by one of the most prominent living composers of our time, Arturo Marquez. He is Mexican and lives in Mexico City. 

The orchestra, performing the music, was the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra until some years ago. Due to the growing age of the musicians it is no longer the Youth Orchestra but the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. 
The Orchestra is a wonderful result of a very successful social project in Venezuela called El Sistema. The project was the brainchild of an economist, Jose Antonio Abreu and commenced in 1975.  It involved 5 children and took place in a garage. The idea was that access to music could give children from poor, underprivileged communities a purpose in their life and keep them away from crime and drugs. If they like music and it inspires them they would naturally strive to improve  their lives. 
The Orchestra is enormously successful. Half a million children were involved in this immersive musical training over the years. They received instruments, training and academic support. Older children were mentors for the younger ones and professional teachers and musicians were engaged. The Orchestra toured around the world and worked with two outstanding conductors, Caludio Abbado and Simon Rattle. 
The charismatic conductor of the Orchestra, Gustavo Dudamel, is also Venezuelan. He was born into a musical family and got involved in the Orchestra as a violinist. One day the professional conductor of the Orchestra was late and Gustavo, who was 12 at this time, impulsively took the baton and began conducting the Orchestra. Remarkably, when the professional conductor arrived he said “You are doing a good job here” and left Gustavo to continue conducting. The rest is history.
You may already have guessed that Gustavo was a kind of Wonderkid, a Venezuelan Mozart.  Five months later he took the position of assistant conductor for the orchestra and the following year he had his own chamber orchestra. In 1999, at18 years of age, he became the Musical Director of the Orchestra.  Nowadays he is also working with the Los Angelis Philharmonic Orchestra and  the Opera National de Paris. 
If Danzon 2 helps you feel better I have another little miracle for you. Gustavo Dudamel and the Symphony Orchestra of Opera National de Paris are coming to the Barbican Centre, London on 22 April 2023. Tickets are still available. 
See you there. 

1 Comment

  1. Love it! Would love to see this live!

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