November 19, 2015
It is halfway through our 10-day tour of Venezuela in partnership with the British Council and FundaMusical. Already myself, Max de Wardener and Matthew Yee-King have presented workshops, master-classes and lectures. We have also experienced the powerful force of the Orquesta Sinfonica Juvenil de Caracas, conducted by Joshua Dos Santos, in a three-hour marathon of a rehearsal yesterday. It’ll be much the same this afternoon ahead of the performance on Saturday 21st November.
Max has scaled up his Piano Concerto, which we first presented for chamber orchestra at Blank Canvas in 2013, and the young orchestral players have really taken to it. We have about 10 double basses, which is ludicrous but somehow it works!
Matthew’s first workshop on working with electronics in live performance was excellent; the
twelve participants got to grips with rigging a PA and also experimented with basic sound processing techniques, such as pitch shift and delay. Even David Codling, Director Arts, Americas at the British Council, a self-confessed technophobe, was a convert by the end and I hope he can successfully unravel a cable going forward.
This is my third visit to Caracas in as many years (having previously brought out Mr Switch, Gabriel Prokofiev, Reeps One, Linden Jay and Auro Foxcroft) and the city still has such an energy about it, though you can feel it hurting from high levels of violence and a faltering economy. Fundamusical’s Centro Nacional de Accion Social por la Musica offers a quiet and safe space for young musicians to learn in and amongst this bustling city and its provision is impressive. As usual, we have been made to feel very welcome by all the partners, participants and musicians and we are looking forward to delivering the final concerts this weekend! Plus it is about 30 degrees, which having come from stormy London is a bonus!