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The Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar de Venezuela is the flagship of the state-sponsored network of Venezuelan orchestras. Founded in 1975 by José Antonio Abreu, it was previously known as the Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana and today comprises 170 members who have been trained in a national system devoted to music education at a young age. Renowned orchestral players from all over the world have worked with these musicians in master classes. And such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Lorin Maazel, Krzysztof Penderecki, Sir Simon Rattle, and Esa-Pekka Salonen have performed the symphonic repertoire with them. Since 1999 Gustavo Dudamel has served as Music Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar de Venezuela. In recent years the Orchestra has performed with him at such festivals and venues as the BBC Proms in London, the Edinburgh Festival, Dresden Staatsoper, and the Salzburg Festival, as well as in Berlin and Istanbul. In 2014 the musicians went on tour for the first time to the Middle East to perform in Oman and Abu Dhabi; in 2015 they took part in performances of Puccini’s La bohème at the EXPO in Milan and gave several Beethoven programs as part of residencies in Los Angeles and Berkeley. In January 2016 they completed a major European tour with twelve concerts, and in May and August they were heard in Bernstein’s West Side Story at the Salzburg Whitsun and Summer Festivals, respectively. The Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar de Venezuela has released numerous CDs of works by Beethoven, Tchai-kovsky, Mahler, and Wagner. Their album Fiesta, featuring music by Latin American composers, became a top seller. The Orchestra has been named a UNESCO Artist for Peace. It is generously supported by the commitment of the Hilti Foundation as Tour Sponsor.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 24 March 2007, with Gustavo Dudamel conducting works by Gustav Mahler.