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Classical 101

Winner of Mahler Prize, Gustavo Dudamel, Conducts Mahler

All this week on Symphony @ 7, we have featured recordings with the exciting conductor Gustavo Dudamel, and we wrap up this evening with a two-hour program to bring you Mahler and Stravinsky. Dudamel, the brightest star of the El Sistema musical education program in Venezuela, is now only 31 and has already scaled the heights of international recognition, not just as a "star" or celebrity, but as a very accomplished and respected artist.  Way back in 2004, when he won the Gustav Mahler Conducting Prize in Germany,  he demonstrated great ability for one so young, and was not afraid to tackle the really big pieces in the repertoire. In fact, he does so quite well. This evening we have Mahler's middle-period Symphony No. 5, an emotional roller-coaster ride from anguish and despair to hope, affirmation, and triumph.  That work lasts for over an hour, and if that's not enough challenging music, we also have Igor Stravinsky's revolutionary 1913 ballet score The Rite of Spring.  That's certainly enough to challenge conductors and orchestras who think they know what they are doing. Under Dudamel's leadership, its amazing what the musicians of the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra can do, especially perhaps, when you realize some of them were kids pulled out of the slums of Caracas and given the opportunity to develop their talents and realize their potentials.  Could there be a better argument for the value of training in the arts? Join me for some great music-making on Symphony @7.  Here is Dudamel with some Mahler and talking about how doors were opened for him http://youtu.be/4exocK5kB9w