drugs maestro Abreu and Jesús Parra at the Salzburg Festival.” alt=”Rattle, ambulance maestro Abreu and Jesús Parra at the Salzburg Festival.” src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-gTbCS_0xyUg/Ui3qNBW-TFI/AAAAAAAABMs/q0pu1NFTmG0/s726/08102013-giras-sir-simon-rattle-jose-antonio-abre-y-jesus-parra.jpg” width=”170px” /> August 10, 2013 is a memorable date for the Salzburg Festival. The presentation of a children’s orchestra for the first time at the prestigious festival proved worth the risk. The National Children’s Orchestra of Venezuela (NCOV), made up of 208 children aged 8 to 14, received a 10-minute standing ovation from an audience of 1,476 after playing Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. The two-hour concert was held at the Felsenreitschule and conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and Jesús Parra, a young conductor born out of El Sistema.
The programme opened with George Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, under Simon Rattle, who smiled at the passion and joy of the young Venezuelan musicians. The second piece in the program, Alberto Ginastera’s Malambo de La Estancia, was led with verve by Jesús Parra. Finally, once again under Ratlle, the NCOV played Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. Its interpretation of the piece with which Rattle made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic, brought many people in the audience to tears and gained the musicians a long ovation. After the concert, Hans Gansch, first trumpet player of the Vienna Philharmonic, said the orchestra gave a brilliant performance of a very demanding piece and also praised the high standard of the trumpet players.
For his part, Rattle said these kids proved how much El Sistema has grown, both in number and excellence. The previous day to the concert, the English conductor said, during a press conference, that El Sistema is the most inspiring programme he has known.