From Bloomberg News Service:
Claudio Abbado Battles Unions, Practices Orchestral Therapy
By Shirley Apthorp
Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Caracas is a surprising place to find
Claudio Abbado. The fragile, refined maestro is one of the most
wanted conductors on the planet. Yet he chooses to spend more
than two months a year amid the snarled traffic and sprawling
urban poverty of the polluted Venezuelan capital, rehearsing and
performing with the country's top youth orchestra.
Over 60 percent of the young musicians come from backgrounds of
extreme poverty. It's all part of Venezuela's visionary system
of music education, founded by economist, politician and organist
Jose Antonio Abreu.
Abbado, who almost died of stomach cancer in 1998, says working
on projects like this keeps him alive. Now painfully thin, with
a striking combination of frailty and forceful charisma, Abbado,
73, lives a reclusive life. He refuses most interview requests
and keeps public appearances rare.
In the shabby grandeur of the Central University of Venezuela's
aula magna, decorated by U.S. sculptor Alexander Calder in better
days, Abbado has been rehearsing Tchaikovsky's fourth symphony
and Prokofiev's first piano concerto in preparation for concerts
in Caracas and Havana. He took time out to talk to me about
what he's doing here.
The story continues here: