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  • VENEZUELA CRISIS

    Venezuelan musicians seek new lives, pursue love of music in Buenos Aires

    22 de octubre de 2018

    Buenos Aires, Oct 22 ( efe-epa).- A Venezuelan in his 60s cries and sings off-key but sings with all his heart from the audience, along with the melodies played by 85 young musicians from his homeland, who grew up in one of the best places in the world for musical education and who now perform in faraway Buenos Aires, whether in concert halls, on the streets or in the subway.

    Where these exiled artists have come together is with the Latin Vox Machine Symphony Orchestra, "the home of Venezuelan music in Argentina" as some of its members call it, and the recital that marked its first anniversary took place just meters (yards) away from the iconic Colon Theater, where many might one day perform.

    Afterwards, violoncellist Veronica Rodriguez, 22, accompanied some of her fellow musicians to a downtown bar for what is a ritual among musicians the world over: beer after a concert.

    "At first playing with Latin Vox was just an escape, but we've become a family. Playing with them makes me feel like I'm back home," Rodriguez told EFE after this evening's concert, which was particularly special because it was the first time her mother and sister, who came to Argentina a month ago, have seen her perform since she left her hometown of Maracay.

    Rodriguez landed in Buenos Aires on the rebound; her original plan was to continue her studies at a conservatory in Paris, and managed to get a private Venezuelan foundation to award her a scholarship and the plane ticket, which was the hardest part, since she was already short-listed.

    The dream was short-lived: "In the end, they decided to give their support to a basketball player." So then it was Argentina that changed her life.

    "My previous intention was to go to Europe, graduate from a wonderful conservatory and play in a fine orchestra. Maybe that's not really my dream anymore. I want to start studying music therapy," said Rodriguez, who gives classes to children and who with some friends from the orchestra formed the Cellofilia rock quartet.

    Luis Matamoros, 21, who came here with his brother, combined working in a kiosk with playing his clarinet, on occasion with Argentina's National Symphony Orchestra.

    He sees Argentina as an intermediate location where he can carry out his "duty" to help support his family, before taking off for Europe, where in March he has an audition in Zurich.

    "Everything can be achieved with perseverance and discipline," Matamoros said.

    Matamoros, like all the others, is a product of the National System of Youth and Child Orchestras, whose standard bearers are the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the late Jose Antonia Abreu, who in 1975 conceived the idea of making Venezuela a luminary in the world of classical music.