Spirit, energy, sensuality, an astonishing playing culture and enthusiasm – these are the qualities that have brought great esteem around the world for the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar de Venezuela. “Music has changed our life – music is our life”, Gustavo Dudamel once said. He himself is an alumnus of “El Sistema”, the unique Venezuelan initiative that introduces children and young people of all social classes to music.
After his years of studying in Paris, composer Heitor Villa-Lobos set up a system of public music education in his home country of Brazil. During the period of this cultural-political activity, he composed the cycle of Bachianas Brasileiras. It was Villa-Lobos’s aim to combine Bach’s stylistic devices of composition with the characteristics of Brazilian folk music, and to develop a distinctive idiom of contemporary Brazilian music.
With his monumental Turangalîla-Symphony, consisting of ten movements, Olivier Messiaen created one of the most extraordinary orchestral works of the 20th century. The word Turangalîla originated in Sanskrit and has several different meanings, ranging from movement, rhythm, playing, becoming and passing away to the topic of a fateful, all-encompassing love. In this symphony, Messiaen ignites a display of instrumental colours, full of contrast and variety. The percussion instruments play a particularly important role here. Together with a perfectly deployed piano and the Ondes Martenot, they do not only augment the orchestral colours, but add the sounds of Javanese or Balinese Gamelan Ensembles to the apparatus of a European orchestra.