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The New Generation of Latin American Orchestras

Since the fall and dissolution of the URSS, a considerable amount of great camera musicians have emigrated to Latin America to continue their work on new orchestras, performing but more importantly: teaching. This phenomenon started a few decades ago and its results can be seen in our days; it has changed entirely the picture of the classical music circuit on the continent and we’re pleased to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

Some experts are calling it ‘the Dudamel’s effect’ in honour of the known conductor: Gustavo Dudamel. Born and raised in Venezuela, current director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; he is well known for his advocacy in making classical music available to youths, despite critics of his work in “El Sistema” -the program that manages the juvenile orchestras in his country-. He is not the only reason why there’s a before and after in the classical music made in Latin America.

Orchestras like the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra (OSY) and the Medellin Philharmonic Orchestra are considered the top orchestras in the continent, all thanks to the new generation of young musicians. This generation came of age in the last 30 years after spending decades learning and preparing, and now they actively offer an attractive program for all public in an effort to raise the bar and enchant the young with music.

Most of the symphonic orchestras recruitment programs in LatAm are focused on the less privileged youths as a way to enhance the quality of life on the most economically depressed areas where crime seems the only option for kids. These systems are a warranty of survival for many of them. Much of the “talent seeders” initiatives are currently sponsored by the CAF.

While this new generation of musicians is being prepared, the music evolves and more people are falling in love with classical composers. These initiatives sometimes get a sneer by renowned experts, but they are a good way to close the gap between the elite and the common public and refresh the classical music landscape.

The Next Generation

Through history, lots of material of great Latin American composers have smitten people all over the world, but sadly many of them have not been rightfully recognized nor included on the classical canon. The variety of sounds, styles and musical legacy of these composers have been influencing the genre over the years, and now it’s possible to enjoy a new generation of talented and committed musicians with a rich heritage to share.

Passion and dedication define what these young musicians radiate on their performances, and many of them proudly share the philosophy that music should be for everyone under the common goal of generating an impact. Some brilliant performers, conductors, directors and composers come from this generation that breaks with the European canonic tradition and merge it with their own cultural luggage.

Some Latin American names are becoming more and more popular on the concert halls around the world. Furthermore, the number of Latin composers on the list of the most renowned sites is growing. Only time will tell who will be forgotten and who will be held as the great performers of our time. What we can be sure of is that most of them are absolute game changers for the genre.