The Ben-Dor Music Discovery Project
the Art Music of Latin America
A Not for Profit organization, 501 (c) (3)
20 Karens Lane, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632, USA
Fax: 201 816 0557
The Ben-Dor Music Discovery Project aims
to promote awareness of the music of serious classical Latin American
composers, as well as to preserve their works and legacy. The organization
seeks to aid in achieving a global recognition that Latin America has
produced many classical composers of note and, very often, genius.
The knowledge of a Latin American rich musical heritage, in addition to
providing the opportunity for exposure to such musical offerings, will
further cultural understanding and help close a cultural gap which still
separates North and South, as far as the Americas are concerned. It is
a fact that most people would be able to recognize the names of European
and perhaps a few North American composers, yet very few would be able
to identify one single Latin American composer of serious, art music.
The highly developed, sophisticated cultural bedrock and influences from
Western civilization in the music of Latin America, which are paramount,
allow for the appreciation of its artistic accomplishments beyond folklore
or purely indigenous forms.
In the understanding that the creation of great art in general and music
in particular attest to the cultural development of a nation or people,
an awareness of such creative strength in Latin American cultures and
societies contributes to the appreciation of these societies as being
highly culturally advanced. The Ben-Dor Music Discovery Project seeks
to reveal and support the significant musical artistic creativity to be
found in these countries, so that it may be recognized, appreciated, and
fully integrated into Western Culture’s mainstream manifestations.
The Ben-Dor Music Discovery Project
seeks to make the music of major Latin American composers such as Alberto
Ginastera (Argentina), Silvestre Revueltas (Mexico), Hector Villa-Lobos
(Brazil) , to name a handful out of hundreds, known to our general public.
The high quality, originality and genius of the various cultural heritages
and folk treasures of each of these countries, elevated to the highest
artistic creations, is comparable to many of the achievements by numerous
European and North American composers, and deserves its rightful place
in the collective awareness.
Just as Beethoven transformed German folk songs into hallowed symphonic
achievements and Gershwin incorporated jazz in concert music, Latin American
composers have weaved their malambos and mariachi sounds into their orchestral
masterworks. Exclusively Latin, original sounds and instruments such as
the Argentine bandoneon and a myriad Caribbean and Mexican percussion
instruments are also represented in these ccompositions. These masterworks
should be known and appreciated.
Whilst it is easily understood that the precarious financial state of
the “Third World” countries of Latin America has been the
primary cause of limited export of the vital, vibrant music of this entire
continent, unlike what Europe and the US have been able to do, the presence
of such manifestations in our country, with its very large Hispanic/Latin
American population, is both highly desirable and justifiable.
It is not only the sounds, colors and rhythms of Latin America which need
to be better represented on the symphonic concert stage, but the Spanish
language, with its magnificent, hundreds of years of world renowned literature,
including the superb literature of Latin America. Choral or vocal classical
works in the Spanish language are rarely heard in concert halls or broadcasts.
Therefore, the promotion of music created in the entire Latin American
continent will also further the presence on the concert stage of the fastest
growing foreign language in the USA.
Only the dissemination of these works can help create a cultural balance
needed in a multi-faceted society, whose values and principles aim to
encourage such diversity. Therefore, the discovery of this rich cultural
heritage in its most developed forms is an important step towards a fair
appreciation of a major cultural contribution to our social landscape.
Ways in which to promote the discovery of these musical works, so that
may reach the widest audiences possible the Ben-Dor Music Discovery Project
commits to promote and realize, include:
Public performances by Symphony orchestras throughout the USA, mostly
during the concert season, festivals including lectures, panel discussions
and exhibits, recordings, the commissioning of new works from Latin American
composers, the availability of free materials to media and organizations
, accessibility of Latin American/Hispanic or Spanish speaking mentors,
tutors ,coaches, lecturers or performers, securing the presence of authentic
performers of original Latin instruments and vocal styles, translation
of Spanish texts ,broadcasts and other media presentations, such as press
and television, direct contact with musical, cultural and scholarly sources
in Latin America itself, and educators and musicians’ visits to
schools to expose children and teachers to music by Latin American composers,
suggesting possible means for inter-disciplinary education (science, geography,
demographics, history ,ethnicity, language) through exposure to music
from all the Americas.
The funds government allocates to the Arts are very limited, and the art
forms are many. Education in the musical arts and through the musical
arts in general, with its consequent influence in the formation of complete,
developed, balanced and motivated human beings, is in a precarious, perilous
state. Society has been dominated by pop culture, and the survival of
the highest forms of creativity in music is now questioned. The Ben-Dor
Music Discovery Project pledges its full advocacy and commitment to contributing
to the vital nurturing of the music its mission is to promote.
As an American citizen who was born and raised in Uruguay, South-America,
thus absorbing all cultural influences whilst trained in classical music,
and as an educator of proven success, the President of The Ben-Dor Music
Discovery Project, conductor Gisele Ben-Dor, dedicates her credentials
and qualifications to lead the organization in the above mentioned direction,
and to fully carry its stated mission.