Arts & Culture

North End Boston String Academy Students Play Under Gustavo Dudamel

On Saturday, my kids and I had the thrill of watching several North End kids participate with Boston String Academy students in an open rehearsal conducted by internationally recognized musician/conductor Gustavo Dudamel. The Boston String Academy is a non-profit organization that provides concentrated instruction in violin, cello, and viola to kids between ages 4 and 18. The kids we went to see are under the age of 12. Gustavo Dudamel is the Music Director and Grammy Award-winning conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

Boston String Academy is a part of Longy’s Side by Side program – the following is from Longy school of music of Bard College’s website: “Sistema Side by Side, a new music program offered free of charge to participants, creates a different kind of orchestra – one where you will see a conservatory graduate student and a grade school student sharing a music stand in performance. One where students from communities across Massachusetts come together throughout the year for a series of intensive rehearsals and performances, creating community through playing music together, and working through differences in the pursuit of a common musical goal.

…(The) open rehearsal (was) of excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. The orchestra comprises 50 children from Sistema programs in Massachusetts, members of the Longy Conservatory Orchestra, and, as special guests for this date only, 10 musicians from Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) – the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s initiative inspired by Music Director Gustavo Dudamel’s artistic vision and experience in Venezuela’s El Sistema.”

After the open rehearsal, Dudamel was awarded the prestigious Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society by Longy President Karen Zorn, and Bernstein’s daughter, Jamie Bernstein.

Here is a video clip from the rehearsal – although a rehearsal, it sounds like a finished product!

The sound of this orchestra was UNBELIEVABLE. I’m guessing that 2/3 of the players were age 12 or under. The timpani player was in a cast on one arm and he was playing with one hand! Dudamel gave him special recognition for it.

In the orchestra, we recognized the North End’s own Alphie D. on the cover of the program with his violin instructor (photo attached), the 11 yr old first chair cello player just behind Dudamel as a frequent play group goer at the Nazzaro from when she was a toddler, NEMPAC’s Chris Schroeder (who also teaches at the El Sistema Music Initiative at the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Brighton), and about 8 kids who participate in a weekly Boston Ballet program with kids from the Eliot.

Congratulations to Boston String Academy, Mariesther and Marielisa Alverez, the North End students and their parents for being involved in such a thrilling event and day!

Here is another video from rehearsal:

Photos by Becca Griffin.

3 Replies to “North End Boston String Academy Students Play Under Gustavo Dudamel

  1. Hi Becca. What an uplifting and interesting article. I can imagine how thrilled the children, as well you, were to meet Dudamel. Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience that the little musicians had.

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