Which work could be more ideally suited to open the El Sistema residency in Salzburg and the Mahler cycle of the 2013 Salzburg Festival at the same time, than Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand”? It will be performed by eight world-famous soloists, four choruses and the 200 musicians of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra – formerly known as the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra – the most well-known flagship ensemble of El Sistema, celebrated enthusiastically the world over.
For six months of the year, the orchestra works with its Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, with whom it also made its Salzburg Festival debut in 2008. In 2011 the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra whetted the Salzburg audience’s appetite for more with its rousing performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2. At this year’s Salzburg Festival, the Venezuelan symphony orchestra presents no less than three Mahler symphonies and will also perform Mozart’s Missa in C Minor at the Collegiate Church of St. Peter in two concerts – with considerably reduced numbers.
The orchestra consists of over 200 young musicians who explore a challenging repertoire in master classes and concerts. Soloists from leading orchestras and institutions are regularly invited to join them, including members of the Berlin Philharmonic, Finland’s Sibelius Academy, the International Bach Academy Stuttgart or the New England Conservatory of Boston.
The orchestra has performed under internationally renowned conductors like Simon Rattle and Claudio Abbado, has toured extensively through Europe, Asia and North and South America, and has performed at all the major festivals and the most important music centres, including the BBC Proms, the Salle Pleyel, Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles and at Vienna’s Konzerthaus.