It’s Over. About time too …

Published February 2012.

So the LA Phil /El Sistema The Mahler Project, A Symphonic Cycle for the New World that began on January 13 in Los Angeles California, finally came to a close last night 18 February more than a month after it began, in another country and another continent. The final event, in Caracas’s Teresa Carreño arts complex (and a host of cinemas around the world), was one of the largest and most successful performances of Mahler Symphony No. 8 of all time. The cycle embraced all of Mahler’s symphonies and more, in a score of concerts in 2 continents, an international symposium of El Sistema practitioners from 13 countries, an exchange programme between the US players and thousands of young Sistema musicians, the launch of a new US Sistema Partnership (Take a Stand), and, naturally, critical acclaim on a humongous scale. But when the dust has settled on this mighty project organised by Venezuela’s Sistema and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, what will its most enduring legacy be?

Well here’s my guess; of everything I witnessed, the scenes that stand out most were the effect that the young Venezuelan Sistema players had on the seasoned musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. My guess is that it is the US musicians who will return home most changed. This may even be the defining moment when the wheel changes, and we start to reclaim the why of music performance rather than simply concentrating on the how. About time too. So applause all round to the organisers and brains behind this project.

Young Musicians from Guarenas and Guatire nucleos play for the LA Phil in one of the open air spaces at the Teresa Carreño theater complex in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, 16 Feb 2012.

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5 thoughts on “It’s Over. About time too …

  1. gcthomas

    Great observations Marshall- thank you very much.

    And so peer teaching takes on an entirely different dimension- a powerful combination of talent, perspective, face to face and heart to heart connection. The stature and international influence of these events may very well create a tsunami broad and powerful enough to push the change needed for real global impact.

    Now we all need to catch the wave- keep paddling, and look out for those who need help along the way.

  2. Marshall Marcus Post author

    Thank you Glenn. Very kind. With almost 400,000 children and young people playing in hundreds of Youth Orchestras from a population of around 25 million I guess the Tsunami has already hit Venezuela. It’s also spreading to the US with more than 50 Sistemas throughout the country. if I have understood, you are near San Diego. Here is your local Sistema USA organisation:
    http://elsistemausa.org/profiles/community-opus-project/
    best
    Marshall Marcus

  3. gcthomas

    Spent three days in the OPUS classrooms last week with Lianne from the Philippines. By the way, I enjoyed your contributions at the LA Symposium. GCT

  4. Pingback: Time to get out the measuring spoons | Marshall Marcus's Blog

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