Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Conversation with Luis Giménez

Sr. Luis started playing for Maestro Abreu in the National Youth Orchestra in Venezuela (´75). Back then E.S. did not exist, so it started with older more advanced students. In 1976 Abreu opens the first nucleos of Barquisimeto and Maracai months apart. The difficulties the kids in the conservatory experienced was the teachers failed without a reason, so they began teaching kids (N:30) in the Casa Doraliza de Medina as a rehearsal hall. Abreu sent out teachers from Caracas, and slowly the professional orchestra of the state of Lara was born.

Módulos: el Tocuyo, Carora, Cabudare, Sarare, Tamaca, Quibor, Sanare, Duaca, and the newest Santa Rosa. In Barquisimeto there are 9 orchestras, with 3,000 kids. Every state has a foundation, in this case FESNOJIV is umbrella for JOVIL (Fundación Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de Lara) and Fundación Conservatorio de Música Vicente Emilio Sojo. To train teachers they either travel to Caracas, but more regularly (sometimes every 15 days) teachers come from Caracas to help teachers. Universidad de los Andes has documented the impacts of music students and academic achievement in Venezuela.

In Barquisimeto there are plans for starting a site similar to Centro de Acción Social por la Música, hopefully Getty will be the architect for this structure - fingers crossed!

About his musical training
Luis studied with an Italian from the old school - the rigid curriculum (can´t get to B if you don´t do A), they tested students to see if they had aptitude, solfege/theory course then instrument. He said ¨there was a lot of talent, but there were imposed barriers¨ When Maestro Abreu begins conducting a youth orchestra that was playing repertoire beyond their ¨technical capacities¨ and breaking away from the audition models, he embodied and instilled in them what he believed - everyone has the right to participate in the orchestra.
Luis never left Barquisimeto even though Maestro A. asked him to stay in Caracas. E.S. used foreigners to teach rather than to play in the orchestra, he also began recording these masterclasses. Media and technology has been a very important part of the spreading knowledge into the other nucleos around the country.

The Academies began in 1976, the violin academy is directed by Francisco Castillo, and Francisco Díaz is the violin director in Barquisimeto. The violin technique in E.S. uses the principles of Galamian´s technique because Castillo was a student of his. The cello school was formed 6 years ago, the technique is basically - do what is most comfortable for the student, however tuning is the most important thing! The bass school developed more uniformly. At first German and French where used, but the professional orchestra in Maracaibo hired Polish double bass teachers, which solidified the German technique in Venezuela. French bass technique is very rare now a days.

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