From Carácas to London: the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble

28 Jan

Since making their debut at the BBC Proms in 2007, the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble has wowed audiences with their energy and passion. Theirs is one of the few classical concerts where the audience knows that whooping and cheering is not off the cards. The ensemble’s 60 members did not grow up with a burning desire to grace the world’s concert halls with their musical talent. Instead they were fortunate to become part of the Sistema, a programme which has used classical music to tackle Venezuela’s social problems for over 30 years. The Sistema has helped turn thousands of children away from drugs, alcohol and gang crime by offering them free instruments and tuition after school. Thirty professional orchestras have sprung up as part of the programme, one of them being the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra created by its musical director Gustavo Dudamel, himself a product of the Sistema. The Venezuelan Brass Ensemble hails from Dudamel’s widely acclaimed orchestra.

On Tuesday February 1st the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble will be performing at the South Bank Centre as part of the Sounds Venezuela programme which will run until the end of the month. The line up will range from a traditional choro piece by Brazilian composer Zequinha De Abreu to the syncopated rhythms of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. According to the Daily Telegraph, “the power of the sound they make is immense and intense. Great waves of fabulous brass hit you somewhere in your stomach”. Their performance is one to be seen and felt, not just heard. Find out for yourself on February 1st. Ticket prices range from £9 to £30.

Image 1: blogdiesi1

Image 2: southbankcentre

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