Venezuela’s wunderkind at Davies Hall 

On Sunday, Bay Area audiences can see and hear for themselves what has been a sensation in Lucerne, Edinburgh, London and other major concert venues. The conductor and orchestra winning accolades around Europe this summer are coming to Davies Hall.

Gustavo Dudamel, 26, and the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra will perform Dimitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, the Symphonic Dances from Leonard Bernstein’s "West Side Story," and musicfrom Latin America.

Admiration is widespread: Among Dudamel’s other fans are Claudio Abbado, Simon Rattle, and Esa-Pekka Salonen, who will yield his baton over the Los Angeles Philharmonic to Dudamel in two years.

The international success of the young Venezuelans is the culmination of a three-decade-long program providing high-quality music education to all in that country.

Josi Antonio Abreu’s "El Sistema" ("National Network of Youth and Children Orchestras of Venezuela") has turned thousands of young Venezuelans into classical musicians, transforming lives among underprivileged, at-risk youths in the process.

From its start — 11 children rehearsing in a parking garage — the program has grown into a government-supported $29 million budget, employing 15,000 teachers and operating 90 schools, whose graduates may then be employed by one of 30 professional symphony orchestras within Venezuela alone.

The concert is at 7 p.m. Sunday at Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco. Tickets are $25 to $81. Call (415) 864-6000 or visit www.sfsymphony.org.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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