Thousands of musicians gathered in Caracas for the record for the largest orchestra

(AFP) – Sunset in Caracas was accompanied by the sound of a giant orchestra on Saturday evening, when thousands of Venezuelan musicians performed Tchaikovsky’s “Slavic March” to set the record for “the largest orchestra in the world “.

Flanked by mountains, the courtyard of the Venezuelan Military Academy hosted around 12,000 musicians who sought to enter the Guinness Book of Records.

“If you break a string, don’t stop. If you lose the score, keep going from memory, but don’t stop,” recommended conductor Andres David Ascanio, 34, before raising his baton.

The 12-minute piece was performed under the watchful eye of some 260 employees of the KPMG audit firm, responsible for ensuring that the musicians followed the rules for setting the new record, which included not sharing instruments and playing. at least five minutes for each musician.

Guinness is due to announce in the next ten days whether Venezuela has dethroned a Russian orchestra of 8,097 musicians gathered in 2019 to become the largest orchestra in the world.

The performers were brought together by the Venezuelan public program “El Sistema” founded in 1975 which provided training in classical music to thousands of working class children.

Gustavo Dudamel, musical director of the Paris Opera and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is one of his most famous alumni.

On Saturday, a flight of macaws accompanied the young musicians in white t-shirts as they followed Ascanio’s instructions displayed on a large screen.

“This is the first time in my life that I see the conductor on a screen, but we have adapted well,” violinist Ernesto Laguna, 21, who has traveled to come and play, told AFP. nearly 450 kilometers from the town of Coro (West).

Once the piece was completed, many musicians released their emotion by raising their instrument to the sky.