Ivan Fischer’s assistant forms a migrant orchestra

Ivan Fischer’s assistant forms a migrant orchestra


norman lebrecht

December 28, 2018

From our Chile correspondent, Felipe Elgueta:

Chile has become a magnet for Latin American migrants in the last years. An independent initiative led by two women conductors will offer a welcoming gesture to the increasing number of newcomers.

This “Concert for Fraternity” will be performed under the baton of Alejandra Urrutia, the first woman conductor of professional orchestras in Chile. She studied violin and conducting in Chile and the USA, and currently is Iván Fischer’s Assistant Conductor at the Budapest Festival Orchestra.

An orchestra of 120 musicians will perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with a choir of 203 voices (including 44 migrants from 10 countries: Venezuela, Spain, Colombian, USA, Haiti, Argentina, Scotland, Ecuador, Cuba, and Germany). The choir is being prepared by the acclaimed Chilean choir director Paula Elgueta.

The concert will take place on 7 January 2019 at the historical Estación Mapocho Cultural Center, in front of an estimated audience of 5,000.

Alejandra with Arvo Pärt



  • V.Lind says:

    And it’s free. Mind you, I do not fancy a concert hall with 5000 in it, but it’s a pretty special place and of course massive.

    • It’s a former train station, just like Musée d’Orsay in Paris or the Centro Cultural Júlio Prestes (home of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra in Brazil). Just Google “estacion mapocho” and take a look.

  • The View from America says:


  • Zacharias Galaviz Guerra says:

    Seeing these initiatives in my home country warms my heart. I had the pleasure of attending a stupendous performance of Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci at the gorgeous Teatro Municipal de Santiago some years ago, and I have since reflected that Chile is in the prime position for mass expansion of the arts. The public desire exists, as well as growing infrastructure. For so many people, a concert like this may be exactly what they need to ignite that spark of artistry. Viva Chile!

    • I agree. There’s much promise here. The Youth Orchestras Foundation, created in the ’90s, has formed many musicians but, above all, music lovers, a big new audience. We are also forming excellent opera singers and classical guitarists. There are now many more places to play too, with new cultural centres being opened in big and small towns. There are still many flaws in managing and funding, but there are also successful examples to learn from in improbable places like Curanilahue and Panguipulli. As a whole, the scene is quite encouraging. And yes, Viva Chile!