Conductor speaks of the social impact of Vienna’s Superar project, inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema

Gustavo Dudamel, members of the Wiener Philharmoniker and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, and children from Superar are set to meet at Salzburg’s historic Hotel Sacher on Thursday 18 August 2016 for the worldwide launch of a special recording project. The conductor and his colleagues will introduce Deutsche Grammophon’s Pictures at an Exhibition to representatives of the international media, training the spotlight on their new album while also highlighting Superar’s life-enhancing values. Maestro Dudamel’s latest recording for the yellow label, made in company with the Wiener Philharmoniker at Vienna’s Musikverein in April, couples two works by Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition, in Ravel’s evergreen orchestration, and A Night on Bald Mountain – with the famous Waltz from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. While making the album, Dudamel and members of the orchestra participated in workshops alongside young people involved in the Superar programme. Superar, founded in 2009 and named for the Spanish word for “overcome”, is based in Vienna’s diverse 10th District. It offers free music lessons to around 900 children aged between five and sixteen.

“For our current recording project, a wonderful programme of Russian delights, the Wiener Philharmoniker and I have joined forces with children from Vienna’s El-Sistema-inspired Superar organisation, offering young people of a range of backgrounds the opportunity to engage with themes from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition,” comments Gustavo Dudamel. “The sense of collective engagement through music – of individuals learning, listening, and creating together – resonates in the living tradition of the Wiener Philharmoniker, inspires our artistic collaboration, and fuels our desire to share music’s transformative power with future generations.”

Pictures at an Exhibition, scheduled for international release on 2 December 2016, reflects Gustavo Dudamel’s deepening partnership with the Wiener Philharmoniker. They first worked together in Lucerne almost a decade ago and have forged a close relationship in the years since, not least during an acclaimed tour of Asia in 2014 and by recording for Deutsche Grammophon.

“It is a pleasure to welcome such a fine new addition to Gustavo Dudamel’s discography for the yellow label, and to reinvigorate our long-standing partnership with the Wiener Philharmoniker,” observes Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “Pictures at an Exhibition, thanks to Gustavo’s dedication to the work of Superar, also stands as a symbol of the extraordinary power of music to transform young lives. Deutsche Grammophon is delighted to help encourage the positive qualities of El Sistema and connect new generations with the experience of making music together.”

The title work of Gustavo Dudamel’s all-Russian album directly inspired Superar’s “Pictures Project”. Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition prompted a group of young people from Superar to take their instruments onto the streets of Vienna’s 10th District, share their music-making with the local community and document the results on camera. Images from their musical “Pictures”, selected by the highly respected Vienna-based photographer Claudia Prieler, will be exhibited as part of Deutsche Grammophon’s Salzburg press event.