Rhythms of Latin America to Fill Carnegie Hall in 2012-13

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Next season Carnegie Hall will be moving to a Latin beat.

As part of its 2012-13 season, Carnegie will present “Voices from Latin America,” a month-long festival (Nov. 8 –Dec. 11) that will feature performances by the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, led by Gustavo Dudamel; the Brazilian singer-songwriter Gilberto Gil; the Cuban pianist and bandleader Chucho Valdés; plus several performances of works by the Argentine-American composer Osvaldo Golijov, who takes up the hall's composer’s chair.

In a press conference on Thursday morning, executive and artistic director Clive Gilinson said the festival will be a “tribute to the contribution that Latin American culture and music have made to US and world culture.” The festival is said to encompass some 60 events – some of which have yet to be announced – and draw on partnerships with other New York cultural and educational organizations.

The Carnegie season opens on Oct. 3 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra led by Riccardo Muti in a performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, followed by two consecutive evenings of music by Wagner, Dvorak, Mason Bates, and other composers.

Other season highlights include a complete Beethoven symphony cycle by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, led by its founder, Daniel Barenboim; a mini-series devoted to late Beethoven string quartets by the Belcea Quartet; and visits by the Philadelphia Orchestra under its new music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin in his Carnegie Hall debut, with programs featuring Verdi’s Requiem and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.

Renee Fleming will appear in a semi-staged version of Andre Previn’s 1998 opera A Streetcar Named Desire in March, as part of a four-concert “Perspectives” series that she is organizing. The soprano will also give a duo recital with mezzo-soprano Susan Graham in January.

Also on Thursday, Carnegie Hall announced that it has received $2 million in grants to begin digitizing its archives. The project is expected to be carried out over the next several years, with a total price tag estimated at over $5 million. Once complete, the public will be able to access online historic materials that are now only available on paper or other media formats.

Journalists and other attendees at the press conference entered beneath dripping sidewalk sheds that surround Carnegie Hall’s entrance, a byproduct of the hall’s $200 million studio towers renovation project. Gillinson said it remains “on time and on budget,” with the construction expected to be complete in fall of 2013.