Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra to head to Scotland as part of Cultural Olympiad

Gustavo Dudamel, Simon Rattle and country-wide bell-ringing headline London 2012 celebrations

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Ruth Mackenzie

Conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela will be performing on a council estate in Scotland, as part of the festival marking the end of the Cultural Olympiad.

London 2012, a nation-wide festival of the arts, runs from 21 June to 9 September, bringing to a close the Cultural Olympiad that has been running since 2008. The complete festival programme was announced on 4 November by artistic director Ruth Mackenzie (pictured).

The Simón Bolívar Orchestra will be visiting the Stirling housing estate of Raploch in Scotland, where a scheme similar to Venezuelan’s celebrated El Sistema is underway. Children from the estate – notorious for drug problems and violence – will work with musicians from the Venezuelan orchestra over four days in a project culminating in an outdoor concert on 21 June.

And in an event conceived by Turner Prize-winner Martin Creed, bells across the country will be rung ‘as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes’. Creed’s aim is to involve every bell in the UK and you can sign up to ring a bell at Allthebells.com.

Other musical highlights of the festival include Sir Simon Rattle conducting the UK premiere of Wynton Marsalis’s Swing Symphony performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and the UK premiere of the epic choral work Weltethos by Jonathan Harvey, performed by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conductor Edward Gardner.

The CBSO will also perform James MacMillan’s Gloria in Coventry Cathedral to mark the Golden Jubillee of the building and NI Opera will present Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde in Belfast Zoo.

Elizabeth Davis