Star-studded “Danzón” video helps combat violence & poverty in Mexico

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Aug 25: The Impossible Orchestra Brings Together De la Parra, Pahud, Vengerov, Villazón, Weilerstein & Other Top Artists for New Danzón Video to Combat Poverty & Violence Against Women & Children in Mexico; 275,000+ Euros Raised to Date

Moved by the plight of women and children in her native Mexico, and by their increased vulnerability during the pandemic, conductor Alondra de la Parra has founded The Impossible Orchestra. Bringing together Emmanuel Pahud, Maxim Vengerov, Rolando Villazón, Alisa Weilerstein and 23 more of the world’s leading musicians hailing from 14 countries, this specially created ensemble performs an original arrangement of Arturo Márquez’s Danzón No. 2 in a new video, launching worldwide today (Tues, Aug 25) at 11:30am EDT.
De la Parra conceived the orchestra and video to raise money for Fondo Semillas and Save the Children Mexico, two foundations working to combat violence against women and children in Mexico. Through its primary sponsors, the project has already succeeded in raising more than 275,000 Euros, and many further significant contributions are expected before the video goes live on August 25. On that same date, the orchestra will also launch a website, enabling members of the public to donate directly to the charities themselves. Three days later, on Friday, August 28, select international celebrities will take part in the orchestra’s virtual fundraising gala on YouTube, to benefit the same cause.

Filmed and edited under lockdown, Danzón No. 2 features Elisa Carrillo Cabrera – co-director of the Mexican National Dance Company and principal dancer with the Berlin State Ballet – in choreography by the Royal Ballet’s Christopher Wheeldon. All named below, the 27 world-class musicians were filmed individually, performing to a custom “groove track” of percussion, piano and bass, to approximate as closely as possible the magic of live, collaborative music-making. Several can be heard playing instruments not normally associated with them, with tenor Villazón on claves and De la Parra herself – who recently concluded her tenure as Music Director of Australia’s Queensland Symphony – on piano. The video’s soundtrack will soon be available from Alpha Records.

De la Parra explains:

“The power of music and dance, encapsulated by so many wonderful musicians coming together to create The Impossible Orchestra, will send a strong message of solidarity and hope to those in my home country, whose already vulnerable position has been exacerbated by COVID-19. I’m deeply touched by everyone’s responses and contributions, and I send all our supporters my most heartfelt thanks.”

The musicians of The Impossible Orchestra

Guy Braunstein, violin
Aleksey Igudesman, violin
Nemanja Radulović, violin
Maxim Vengerov, violin
Amihai Grosz, viola
Rolando Fernández, cello
Jan Vogler, cello
Alisa Weilerstein, cello
Edicson Ruiz, bass

Emmanuel Pahud, flute
Cristina Gómez Godoy, oboe
Albrecht Mayer, oboe
Paquito D’Rivera, clarinet
Stefan Schweigert, bassoon

Stefan Dohr, horn
Felix Klieser, horn
Sarah Willis, horn
Pacho Flores, trumpet
Arturo Sandoval, trumpet
Joseph Alessi, trombone
Jörgen van Rijen, trombone
Stefan Schulz, trombone
Alexander von Puttkamer, tuba

Benjamin Forster, timpani
Yuniet Lombida Prieto, saxophone (on percussion)
Christoph Sietzen, percussion
Rolando Villazón, tenor (on claves)

Alondra de la Parra, conductor (on piano)

Dancer: Elisa Carrillo Cabrera

Alondra de la Parra

Conductor Alondra de la Parra has won widespread public admiration for her vibrant musical performances and her championing of Latin American composers. She frequently leads the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Swedish Radio Orchestra, São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin and Orchestra of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia. She also regularly conducts ballet productions at such distinguished companies as the Royal Ballet and Berlin State Ballet. From 2017 to 2019 she was Musical Director of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, making her the first woman to head an Australian orchestra. She was also the first Mexican woman to conduct a major orchestra in New York and is an Official Cultural Ambassador of Mexico.

The Mexican foundations

Fondo Semillas provides Mexican women with financial resources, training, support and development, as well as connecting them with other donors, networks and alliances. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Fondo Semillas continues striving to make Mexico a country where all women have access to health, decent employment and justice, and the capacity to make their own decisions and happiness.

Save the Children Mexico is the Mexican branch of Save the Children, the leading humanitarian organization for children. The mission of Save the Children, founded in 1919, is to ensure that children develop their full potential through programs devoted to poverty relief, the promotion of education, and protecting children from all types of violence and discrimination. The organization focuses on reaching the most disadvantaged children, who are frequently excluded for reasons of poverty, geography, gender, race or disability.

The leading sponsor of The Impossible Orchestra is GNP Seguros. With more than 115 years’ experience, GNP Seguros is the largest insurance company in Mexico. Fundación Legorreta Hernández, founded by renowned Mexican architect Alejandro Legorreta and Andrea Hernández, and Mercedes-Benz Global & Mexico, one of the world’s leading brands in luxury and commercial vehicles, are contributing as Golden Sponsors.
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