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Gustav Mahler Cycle • Mahler I


  • 10 August 2013, 11:30
  • 11 August 2013, 11:00



ALBERTO GINASTERA Danzas de Estancia, Op. 8a

GUSTAV MAHLER Symphony No. 1 in D (1884–88)


Duration of concert approx. 2 hours 5 minutes.

Print programme (PDF)


When I first conducted the Infantil Orchestra three years ago in Caracas, I could not believe that children as young as nine and never older than 14 could not only play all the notes, but also could make such wonderful music. It is exhilarating and life-enhancing. So I had no hesitation in accepting the invitation of Alexander Pereira and Maestro Abreu to conduct Mahler 1 with the Infantil Orchestra (even younger this time) at the 2013 Festival. This is, quite simply, the future of music. Those of you lucky enough to hear the concerts will see why. Simon Rattle

When the National Children’s Symphony Orchestra was initiated in 2010 by José Antonio Abreu, Simon Rattle took the podium himself and conducted the first-ever concert of the new Venezuelan children’s orchestra at the Aula Magna of the University of Caracas. 377 children between the ages of eight and 13 played works by Gershwin, Fauré and Ginastera with great passion and musical seriousness. The fact that this young ensemble also dared to play Mahler’s Symphony No 1, however, astonished all those present – and was rewarded with standing ovations. This summer, the National Children’s Symphony Orchestra embarks upon its first tour abroad, following the invitation of the Salzburg Festival – but “only” with about 250 members. And once again, it will be Simon Rattle who conducts the children’s orchestra in its international debut.

However, some of the children will be different from three years ago, for in the meantime, many of the young musicians have grown out of the children’s orchestra, moving on to perform in one of Venezuela’s youth orchestras. The Salzburg programme once again features Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 as the central work, in addition to Gershwin’s Cuban Overture and Danzas de Estancia by the Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera. The latter will be conducted by 18-year-old Jesús Parra, the latest child prodigy to come of out El Sistema. Apart from these two concerts at the Felsenreitschule, the National Children’s Symphony Orchestra will encounter various ensembles in Salzburg which are implementing the idea of El Sistema in their own countries – for example, the Austrian initiative superar or the Turkish children’s orchestra “Music for Peace”. On August 7, there will also be a public orchestral rehearsal with the Mozart Children’s Orchestra of the Mozarteum Foundation.