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The Intersection of Science, Art, Music & Humanities

Dudamel and Shostakovich

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Today's Sunday Morning Stop at the Intersection of Science, Art, Music, and Humanities features Gustavo Dudamel conducting his ????awe-inspiring university-level Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, performing the Dmitri Shostakovich Tenth Symphony in E Minor.

Dudamel, these brilliant young players, and Shostakovich left no emotion untouched. Hearing this music affects the very core of biological being for most of us who listen.

After struggling to remain above the fray as Venezuela slowly descended into its current political and humanitarian crisis, Gustavo Dudamel, also the conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, finally spoke out in 2017 against the violent repression following the death of one of his Youth Orchestra's violinists during a Nicolas Maduro crackdown against antigovernment protesters who were speaking out against widespread hunger, rampant crime, and a failing health system. 

Maduro's payback response was to cancel the upcoming National Youth Orchestra's sold-out, four major city US tour.  

I have an obligation, as a Venezuelan citizen, to speak out against the unconstitutional decision by the government to convene a national constituent assembly, which will have the power not only to rewrite the Constitution but also to dissolve state institutions. 

~Gustavo Dudamel

Most of the orchestra players have now had to flee Venezuela due to a humanitarian crisis that cries out for Shostakovich's Tenth, as well as crying out for the millions of worldwide supporters, ??young musicians and audience members in every continent of the globe to take a stand. 

The Shostakovich emotional four-movement tenth symphony was premiered by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra on December 17, 1953, following the March 5, 1953, death of Joseph Stalin. 

Itís viewed as one of Shostakovich's greatest musical statements about Russia and his tenuous relationship with Stalin and his evil politicos. 

Under Stalin, the Soviet Union was transformed from a peasant society into an industrial and military superpower, ruled by terror with a totalitarian grip in order to eliminate anyone who might oppose him. Millions of Russian citizens died during this brutal reign.

According to Elizabeth Wilsonís comments about the Tenth in Shostakovich: A Life Remembered: 

  • The first and longest movement is a slow tragic movement in rough sonata form.
  • The second movement is a short and violent scherzo with syncopated rhythms and endlessly furious sixteenth note passages.
  • The third movement is a moderate dance-like nocturne, which is what Shostakovich called it.
  • The fourth and final movement is naively happy at a slow andante  pace that suddenly changes into a fast finale.


We hope you can find the time to listen to all four stunning movements of the Shostakovich Tenth presented today. 

Real music is always revolutionary, for it cements the ranks of the people; it arouses them and leads them onward. 

?~Dmitri Shostakovich

?A necessary reminder: Although the 2018 budget ?proposed by the current administration sought to end federal funding for government arts programs, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), they were fortunately unsuccessful in their efforts. When the federal budget was rolled out, not only did it maintain funding levels for federal arts programs, it actually slightly increased them. 


Nevertheless, this administration's proposed 2019 budget aims to zero out any funding for the ?NEA. Hopefully that will change with the new Congress, given the vital role the arts play in the development of analytical thinking, clarity in written and spoken expression, collaboration, and creativity. 

The arts help us make sense of our world, they enable us to think, imagine the unimaginable, they connect us to our past, the present and the future, sometimes simultaneously. The arts make us life-long learners.  ~Cornell University President, David Skorton

Most smaller city orchestras in this country receive very little government support and are dependent on hard-working volunteer difference makers with impact to keep the classical music we love alive and well for this and future generations.

With the holidays soon approaching, consider gifting season tickets or single performance events to those who would appreciate them.

Local support helps keep classical music alive all over the world.

Have a thoughtful Sunday morning.

Ellen Troyer with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff


Biosyntrx strongly believes that appreciation, exploration, and commitment to science, art, music, and humanities add significantly to the global great good and are important parts of the intellectual whole.