The concert given by the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela under its conductor Gustavo Dudamel at the Beethovenfest 2007 in Bonn was a highlight of the musical year.
Over 200 young musicians between the ages of 10 and 24, many from underprivileged backgrounds, performed with nearly untamable energy under the baton of a young maestro destined to conduct the most fabled orchestras in the world. Born in 1981, Gustavo Dudamel is a product of Venezuela's "Sistema de Orquestas," which was founded by J. A. Abreu to allow children of all social milieus to learn an instrument and play in an ensemble. After winning a competition in 2004, Dudamel quickly went on to conduct several Major orchestras. Critics try to capture Dudamel's effect on musicians and audiences with words such as "electricity," "vibrancy" and "magic," and Sir Simon Rattle has called him "the most astonishingly gifted conductor I have ever come across."
In the riveting 90-minute documentary The Promise of Music directed by Enrique Sánchez Lansch, we follow Dudamel as he prepares his orchestra in Caracas for its concert in Bonn, and we accompany the young musicians on their trip to Europe. The film also features comments by such distinguished musicians as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Sir Simon Rattle and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
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