Houston Symphony teaching in Colombia

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- From the jungle areas near Ecuador, to the bustling cities of Bogota and Medellin, the Colombian Youth Philharmonic gives the nation's very best young musicians the opportunity to play together each year. But this year, something special -- master classes led by members of the Houston Symphony, who went there for weeks of intense instruction.

Principal oboist Jonathon Fisher agreed to go to Colombia to teach.

"Oh, for them it's incredible," said Fisher, "I mean can you imagine, so they, we coach them and then when they come to Houston they play a side by side concert with us on the music that we coach them on. I mean that's a perfect recipe for success and for inspiration for them and for us."

In fact, some Houston Symphony veterans admit these students are pushing them to be better teachers, and even after grueling days, they're motivated to practice more themselves.

Many of the Colombian Youth Philharmonic students have gone years without music teachers because they couldn't afford it. In many instances, only their passion has fueled their talent, as they teach themselves by watching YouTube or reading books. So the fourteen members of the Houston Symphony are giving them a once-in-a-lifetime musical experience.

"When you have an orchestra and you have fourteen coaches who leads the group, each for one instrument, you have a very, very strong improvement," said Elena Baretto, who leads the Youth Philharmonic. "But when all the musicians are from the same orchestra, you have a faculty thinking as an orchestra, and that is amazing."

But the exchange didn't stop there. After training in Colombia, the 110 students came to Texas July 9th and have performed in Dallas, Fort Worth, and throughout the Houston area. The alliance culminates at Friday and Saturday night concerts. The students will be sitting alongside their mentors performing Carmina Burana. The Houston Symphony's Colombian-born conductor, Andres Orozco Estrada, orchestrated the partnership. He was nervous about how it would work, but not anymore, after hearing the rehearsals.

"What I hope the people of Houston will notice is this is a lot of, not only talent, but just beautiful souls," said Orozco Estrada, "be prepared to be amazed from this experience."

Tickets are still available to the concert at HoustonSymphony.org
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