Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar

Simón Bolívar
Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela

Spanish version

Orchestal Academic Program



The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela (SBSOV), made up of 180 young musicians aged 18 to 28, was founded by maestro José Antonio Abreu and is the flagship orchestra of the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela. Its members —who has been named UNESCO Artists for Peace— have been trained under the El Sistema’s Orchestral Academic Program, taking master classes with internationally renowned professors and performing under famous maestros such as Sir Simon Rattle, Claudio Abbado, Daniel Baremboim, Kristof Penderecki, Essa Pekka-Salonem and Lorin Maazel, among others.

The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra has successfully toured internationally, appearing at the world’s most prestigious festivals and venues. In the summer of 2007, the orchestra made a sold-out debut at the BBC Proms in London, and made its first appearances at the Edinburgh International Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival and the Semperoper of the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden. In the autumn of that year, the SBSOV performed in Mexico, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and New York, where the Bolívars played under Gustavo Dudamel and Simon Rattle at the Carnegie Hall’s Berlin in Lights Festival.

In the summer of 2008, the SBSOV appeared in Berlin, Frankfurt, Lucerne, Baden-Baden, Helsinki and at the Salzburg Festival as orchestra in residence. In December, the SBSOV made its Asian debut appearing in Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo and Hiroshima. In April 2009, the Venezuelan orchestra played to packed audiences in Houston, Washington and Chicago, and once again at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

In October 2009, the SBSOV appeared successfully at Europe's most prestigious venues, including the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Teatro Alla Scala in Milan, and the Salle Pleyel in Paris. This tour was followed by its Canadian debut, under Gustavo Dudamel, during the Glenn Gould Foundation’s weeklong Celebration of Music created to honour Dr. José Antonio Abreu.

In March 2010, the SBSOV had a successful residency at the Lucerne Festival at Easter that featured four concerts under Claudio Abbado, Gustavo Dudamel, and the young Venezuelan conductors Christian Vásquez and Diego Matheuz. That same year, in June, the orchestra toured Europe, presenting concerts and educational activities in Gothenburg, Oslo, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Warsaw, Athens, and Granada in Spain.

As part of the Bicentennial independence festivities held in many South American countries in 2011, the SBSOV and Dudamel gave concerts in Salvador de Bahia, Paulinia, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Santiago de Chile and Bogota. In August of that year, they appeared again at the BBC Proms, the Salzburg Festival, and the Istanbul Music Festival. Three months later, the SBSOV kicked off another European tour that included concerts in Zurich, Milan and Rome. Dudamel and his orchestra were loudly applauded for their rendition of works by Ravel, Beethoven and Stravinsky. The tour closed with five concerts in Turin, Naples, Genoa, Palermo and Reggio Emilia under Diego Matheuz.

Between January and February 2012, the SBSOV had a three-week residency at Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of the Mahler Project Concert Series, in which Los Angeles Philharmonic participated. The concert series closed in Caracas, at the Teresa Carreño Theater, with concerts that featured both the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Between June and July 2012, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra participated in the cultural festival of the London 2012 Olympics, and appeared at the Southbank Centre. Then, the Venezuelan musicians played in Scotland, Barcelona and Madrid. In July, 217,000 people gathered in Caracas to attend the concert by the SBSOV and Rubén Blades under Dudamel.

Between November and December 2012, the orchestra embarked on a US Tour that included appearances in San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington, as well as a seven-day residency at Carnegie Hall in New York as part of the Voices from Latin America Festival.

In January 2013, the Bolívars recorded the soundtrack of the film Libertador by Alberto Arvelo, composed by maestro Gustavo Dudamel. Shortly after, the orchestra embarked on a South American toured that kicked off in Santo Domingo and continue —in April— in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Bogota.

In the summer of 2013, the SBSOV played at the Salzburg Festival as part of the El Sistema Residency. Maestro Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra received loud ovations during their five concerts in Salzburg, especially at their first concert held at the Grosses Festspielhaus, where they performed Mahler's Symphony No. 8 accompanied by the Simón Bolívar National Youth Choir of Venezuela.

The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel are exclusive artists of Deutsche Grammophon, with which they recorded Beethoven’s Fifth and Seventh's Symphonies and Mahler’