Today’s New York Times magazine published this profile on 26-year-old conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who will succeed Esa Pekka-Salonen as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2009-2010.
He will be in San Francisco conducting the Youth Orchestra of Venezuela on Sunday, November 4.
The unique music education system in Venezuela, with an enrollment of 250,000, is referred to as el sistema.
“The most remarkable feature of the Venezuelan music-education system is its instant immersion: the children begin playing in ensembles from the moment they pick up their instruments. Their instructors say the students are learning to behave as much as they are discovering how to make music. “In an orchestra, everybody respects meritocracy, everybody respects tempo, everybody knows he has to support everyone else, whether he is a soloist or not,” explains Igor Lanz, the executive director of the private foundation that administers the government-financed sistema. “They learn that the most important thing is to work together in one common aim.” Across Venezuela the sistema has established 246 centers, known as nucleos, which admit children between 2 and 18, assign them instruments and organize them into groups with instructors.”