For a few months, rumours have been swirling that Toronto would receive a visit from the Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra, from Caracas. This is one of the foremost youth orchestras in the world – a professional group, really, in terms of the quality of their performances.
The orchestra is also famous for its social mandate in Venezuela, offering poor kids around the country free instruments and music lessons. As well, it was the training-ground for the Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who was appointed conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic a couple of years ago, at the tender age of 26.
Behind the ambitious scheme to bring this orchestra to our fair city is the Glenn Gould Foundation, which last year awarded the Gould Prize to José Antonio Abreu, the founder of the orchestra. The planned visit by the orchestra is intended as a tribute to his hard work.
And now the Gould Foundation has officially announced, on its website, that the tour is happening. No doubt the logistics of the tour have been a challenge: the orchestra is huge, with about 250 young musicians. As well, both Abreu and Dudamel will be coming to town.
The big concert will take place at the Four Seasons Centre on October 26. And there will be other events as well, including a concert by the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble (essentially the brass section of the Bolivar Orchestra), on October 28 at the Royal Conservatory of Music.
This is quite a coup for the Gould Foundation. And these young musicians should be well worth hearing.
Colin Eatock, Managing Editor