October 18, 2011

NEC Presents Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz, Nov. 5, 9 pm in Jordan Hall

Conservatory Welcomes Ensemble in Connection with its Partnership with Venezuela’s El Sistema

New England Conservatory will present the Boston appearance of the touring Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz, November 5 at 9 p.m. in NEC’s Jordan Hall.   Established in 2007, the band is the brainchild of Valdemar Rodríguez, director of the Simón Bolívar Conservatory of Music, and drummer Andrés Briceño, who had the idea of promoting and disseminating jazz music genres in Venezuela.

The group is made up of 40 students from the Venezuelan Conservatory, an institution that is part of the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela—known to Americans by the shorthand appellation "El Sistema." It will stop in Boston as one leg of its American tour which will also feature performances in New York City at Jazz at Lincoln Center—Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola and Harlem Stage at The Gatehouse.

NEC welcomes the jazz band to Boston as part of its ongoing engagement with El Sistema that led to the formation of the Abreu Fellows Program at New England Conservatory. Joining the Venezuelan musicians for a portion of the concert will be drummer “Rakalam” Bob Moses of the NEC faculty.

Following the concert, listeners are invited to extend the evening in Brown Hall, where NEC musicians will play with their Venezuelan counterparts in a late-night jam session. Both the concert and jam session are free and open to the public.

For further information, check the NEC Website or call the NEC Concert Line at 617-585-1122.  NEC’s Jordan Hall, Brown Hall, Williams Hall and the Keller Room are located at 30 Gainsborough St., corner of Huntington Ave. St. Botolph Hall is located at 241 St. Botolph St. between Gainsborough and Mass Ave.

In its short existence the band has participated in seminars and workshops conducted by world renowned jazz maestros such as saxophonist Rolando Briceño; trumpet players James Seely, Edward Wolf and James Delano Zollar; trombonists James Richard Griffin and Stafford Hunter; pianists Daniel Asbury Mixon, Luis Perdomo and Ed Simon; and double bassist Miriam Sullivan. After attending a seminar by saxophonist Román Filiú, the band brought off an extraordinary feat: covering Irakere’s Concierto para metales, one of the most complex works of the jazz repertoire.

The SBBJ has performed with legendaries jazz figures such as Nicolás Folmer, conductor of the London Big Band, and Dave Samuels and Robert Quintero from the Caribbean Jazz Project, who joined the band on stage.

The Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz has performed in many venues around Venezuela: the Simón Bolívar Hall at the Center for Social Action through Music, the Corp Banca Cultural Center, the Alexander von Humboldt Theater of the Humboldt Cultural Association, the Montalbán Children’s Academic Center, the Theater of the Electricidad de Caracas, the Bello Monte Acoustic Shell, the Opera Theater of Maracay, the Juares Theater of Barquisimeto and the main hall of the Simón Bolívar University.

The Venezuelan jazz musicians have taken part in the 2009 Jazz Festival of Barquisimeto; the 2009 Ajazzgo Festival held in Cali, Colombia –where they performed before an audience of 15,000; and the Al Parque Jazz Festival, held in Bogotá, where over 5,000 people applauded them.

Social responsibility is part of the core values upheld by the SBBJ. On March 13, 2010, they gave a charity concert organized by the Alliance Française Caracas and the Embassy of France to Venezuela to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake. That same year, on May 18, the SBBJ gave a concert at the Instituto Nacional de Orientación Femenina, bringing rhythm and joy to the inmates of this penitentiary.


Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory in Boston, MA offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.  Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.  Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions.  On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, contemporary improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Programs and Partnerships Program, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors.  Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music, jazz, and contemporary improvisation.

NEC presents more than 900 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, century-old, beautifully restored concert hall.  These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz, contemporary improvisation, and opera scenes.  Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre or Paramount Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115