November 27, 2012
"Los músicos venezolanos arriban este lunes 26 a Berkeley, San Francisco," says the e-mail from the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington — in effect placing Berkeley in San Francisco, a common error in foreign lands.
The embassy, part of the Mininistry of People's Power for Foreign Affairs, is touting the long-awaited concerts by the Simón Bolívar Orchestra, led by Gustavo Dudamel, and an important symposium on music education and El Sistema, which is responsible for the Dudamel-Bolivar phenomenon.
The English version of the note got it more accurately, except for improvising on the name of the university:
This North-American tour starts November 28th in Berkeley University, CA, when for 4 days the Venezuelan musicians will participate in a residence with seminars, master classes, chamber music concerts in schools and communities of the city and two more concerts — November 29th and 30th — at famous Zellerbach Hall, with its 2000 people capacity.
The important news here is that there are still a few — very few — tickets available for those Nov. 29 and 30 concerts on the Cal Performances website.
The opportunity to hear this amazing ensemble — in a fascinating program of music by Chávez, Orbón, Revueltas, Benzecry, Villa-Lobos, and Estévez — may not come around again any time soon.
Members of the University Chorus and the Pacific Boychoir join the Venezuelans for the Nov. 30 program, "¡MUSICA!: a Celebration of Music from Latin America." Preparations in Berkeley for the Villa-Lobos Chôros No. 10 and the Estévez Cantata Criolla have taken two months.
Predicts a Boychoir singer: "It will really stun the audience when we sing the end of the Chôro. It goes really fast, and then slows right down. There's going to be a standing ovation, and everyone's going to say Yay!"