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In Jordan, Venezuelan conductor sets the tone for ‘A Night in Caracas’

By Jean-Claude Elias - Oct 27,2014 - Last updated at Oct 27,2014

AMMAN — Celebrated Venezuelan composer and conductor Pedro Mauricio Gonzalez Brito is in Jordan for a special concert. The event aptly titled “An Evening in Caracas” will take place on Thursday, at 7:00pm at the Jordanian International School in Tlaa Al Ali. The maestro will be conducting the Jordanian National Orchestra. He arrived in the country on October 18, and has already had a few rehearsals with the orchestra.

Talking to The Jordan Times at the Venezuelan embassy in Amman, Brito expressed his satisfaction with the local orchestra, saying that from the very first rehearsal session he could tell that, overall, the level of the musicians was “rather high”. He voiced his sincere pleasure at being in Jordan and working with the local musicians. His personal approach to music is characterised by authenticity and simplicity. This is felt in his compositions and in the natural way he talks about music, in general.

He then introduced the programme of the concert and that will include the overture from Rossini’s La Gazza Ladra, Mozart’s symphony No. 36 in C major, excerpts from Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and last but not least, one of his own compositions, Cantos Indigenas (Indian/indigenous chants) that he wrote in 2002. The work is an orchestral ode to the indigenous population in Venezuela in particular, and in Latin America in a broader manner, where ancestral traditions involve singing in most everyday chores.

Attending one of the rehearsals, on Sunday in the evening at the National Music Conservatory (NMC), The Jordan Times had the opportunity to listen to a good rendition of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. It was also a chance to see the two parties, the visiting conductor and the local musicians, enjoying the experience and communicating with gestures, English and Arabic not being spoken by the conductor.

The Venezuelan maestro is also a renowned contrabass player in his country and regularly performs with the Venezuela Philharmonic Orchestra. The visit to Jordan is one of the rare opportunities he has had to conduct a music ensemble outside his country. He also spoke of his love for all periods of music, from baroque to classical, romantic, modern and then contemporary, but admitted to have a special weakness for Mozart works.

The project comes to support and to increase the momentum of the Jordanian National Orchestra, an initiative mainly animated by Her Majesty Queen Noor Al Hussein, and Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, the orchestra’s chairman. It is held under the patronage of the Venezuelan ambassador to Jordan Fausto Fernandes Borge, and Abu-Ghazaleh. The orchestra is hosted by the NMC, whose director and conductor Mohammad Othman Sidiq is closely working with Brito to carry out the entire project, from the joint rehearsals to the concert day.

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