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Argentine Govt cancels Tour over Dudamel Statements;
Previn still Busy Despite Arthritis.
It’s “This Week in Classical Music”—an update on what’s happening in the classical music world—I’m Randy Kinkel.
Conductor Gustavo Dudamel may well be Venezuela’s most visible cultural export, and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela has come to symbolize that nation’s commitment to social programs and music education for all.
But that didn’t stop the government from canceling the orchestra’s tour of Asia.
It was the second Dudamel-led tour to be cancelled since the conductor criticized the government over the summer amid a growing political crisis.
widespread protests in Argentina have been greeted with harsh government crackdowns. An 18-year-old El Sistema-trained viola player was killed during a street protest. Dudamel spoke out against the government, and went on to write a piece in The New York Times condemning its plans to hold a vote to allow it to rewrite the country’s Constitution.
“This is a very sad, painful moment for me, for the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, and for my country,” Mr. Dudamel wrote Thursday on Facebook. “We have once again been prevented in our wish to share the remarkable talent and hope of our people with the world.”
André Previn might have Arthritis, but it’s not slowing him down. Not much, anyway. He’s been working with superstar soprano Renée Fleming on Previn’s new song cycle, Lyrical Yeats, and they’re also working with playwright Tom Stoppard on an opera titled Penelope.
Now that arthritis has limited his conducting, piano playing and overall mobility, composing is Previn’s main musical activity. “In the last 20 years, I’ve probably composed more than in my whole life before that,” he said. “I found that I really love doing it.”
He’s written three concertos for his Ex-wife, Violinist Anne Sophie Mutter, who says Previn “writes in a musical language that is consistent and distinctly his own.” He’s also been doing a lot of listening to music.
“For me”, (He says) “everything begins and ends with Mozart. There can be a phrase, a bar, in Mozart, that moves me to tears every time I hear it. As a conductor, I’ve done as much Haydn as anybody. When I first got arthritis, it hit me in the wrist, and I have trouble playing [piano]. So I got the Emerson Quartet’s recordings of Haydn chamber music, and it’s so wonderful I can’t even describe it.”
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