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Breaking: Dudamel and his orchestra to close the London Olympics

It is reported in Caracas that the Simon Bolivar Orchestra and its conductor Gustavo Dudamel have been engaged for the closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics.

There has been no confirmation yet from London, but the source of the story is Dude’s mentor, the Sistema founder José Antonio Abreu, so it seems likely to be true.

Here’s the report (in English).

UPDATE: The official response from London Olympics.

FINAL UPDATE: A ‘no’ from Dude’s people.

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  1. A bit tenuous given that 2016 will be in Rio, not Caracas! But perhaps Venezuela was regarded as “close enough” :-)

  2. What a shame it is not a British orchestra. What is the connection with Venezuela?

  3. mark winn says:

    Jeeeesus..whats wrong with using a British orchestra with British musicians..and conductor…(Rattle)….?? Typical sell out..we are truly the doormat of the world….

  4. Matthew says:

    It is a real shame. There are so many wonderful youth orchestras which represent much better the olympic spirit of international collaboration: European Union Youth Orchestra, Verbier Symphony Orchestra, Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester. Why does it have to be an orchestra which is not European and one which represents just one country and almost never uses foreign conductors? Besides – the criticism has been already raised (e.g. New York Times) about artists like Dudamel turning a blind eye to the fact that they advertise a rather controversial regime of Hugo Chavez. Also, there was such an excellent choice for top class professional orchestras which could do it. Just to name few: London Symphony Orchestra which is very active these days in promoting music education in East London (for London), excellent OSESP from Sao Paulo which is now ranked as one of the best orchestras in the world (for Brasil) or World Orchestra for Peace (for the whole world).

    I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that Simon Bolivar Orchestra is heavily subsidised by Chavez and that El Sistema people have recently bankrolled some influential members of the British musical establishment to promote their cause. If we look at it in the context of a recent row over the expectations from the organisers of the Games that the British and other musicians should provide their services for the Olympic Games for free and on voluntary basis – that might explain such a weird choice.

  5. If this is true, it beggers belief!

    If it is true then it poves that Lord Coe is a complete musical moron with no taste or sense whatsoever.

    We can only hope that is is not true.

  6. WHAT???!!!

    I can’t believe it, although given his PR machine, I imagine it very well could be true.

  7. Whatever the truth behind this Venezuelan story Lord Coe might still be a complete musical moron with no taste or sense whatsoever. I heard his speech at the Barbican some while back and he had no idea what he was talking about. His team’s budgeting was a long way out too – I remember that the Olympics would only cost Council Taxpayers the price of a walnut whip.

    Is it no coincidence that a story like this breaks on a Sunday night over a Bank Holiday weekend?

  8. Thomas P says:

    Speaking from the other side of the pond, this is such a pathetic statement on behalf of the British Olympics. It simply defies credulity where, as has been pointed out, there are so many worthy orchestras in the sponsor nation.

  9. What a shame. The Bolivars are, of course, sensational and inspirational, but twice now, they’ve appeared in London the same weekend as our own National Youth Orchestra, and both times the critics have declared that the home team won on talent. 165 teenagers from different backgrounds across the country, more of them at state school than specialist music school too, and – let’s face it – not only Britain’s biggest team of any kind, but arguably the most consistently good of any kind too, and yet they don’t get picked for a gig like this? Can we start a petition? At least Roger Wright had the sense to put them on the middle weekend of the Olympics at the Proms. Whatever our sporting team’s fortunes that fortnight, we’re sure to achieve gold that night.

  10. I find this news, if true, quite disgraceful. Although many of the orchestras suggested by Matthew above are comendable, it seems to me that a BRITISH orchestra should have been engaged for the final Celebrations of the LONDON Olympics 2012.

    What a shame that no-one thought about engaging the National Youth Orchestra of Gt Britain, the London Schools Orchestra (who apparently gave an excellent concert at the South bank recently) or indeed any of the UK orchestras. All that would have been needed then was to dream up a programme that would show the best of BRITISH music. We have Blur on the last night, so why not a UK orchestra as well instead of Dudamel and his (admittedly wonderful) band?

    If this news is true, it shows a complete lack of imagination and sensitivity on the part of the organisers, and is a massive slap in the face to British musicians at an event funded by the British Tax payer and British business. Shame, shame, shame!!!

  11. Perhaps the managers and music directors of the British orchestras snubbed could voice their disappointment? Or are they too frightened of the whole farago surrounding Dudamel to say anything? The agency that looks after much of the Venezuelans touring manages Rattle. Conflict there. And Dudamel’s manager looks after Salonen too. Conflict there.
    It may also be that the LSO, LPO, Philharmonia etc. are all engaged on the European touring circuit so unavailable.

  12. Rosana Martins says:

    Although the Olympics are international, the event is taking place in England and it would be a great opportunity to show off local talent. If the idea is to programme a youth orchestra, how about giving a chance to a British orchestra?
    BTW, I am Brazilian.

  13. bernard says:

    This is really getting out of hand with the sbyo and Dudamel, this is no longer about quality music, i smell oil money changing hands.

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