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Placido Domingo shows support for New York music education program

January 19, 2012 | 10:22 am


Plácido Domingo is in New York this week to perform in the Metropolitan Opera's production of "The Enchanted Island." On Wednesday, the Spanish tenor took time out of his schedule to travel 40 blocks south where he conducted a youth concert of students who are participating in a music program inspired by Venezuela's El Sistema.

The Harmony Program offers free after-school music education to disadvantaged children throughout New York. The program is modeled after El Sistema, the Venezuelan music-education initiative whose most famous alumnus is conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

On Wednesday, Domingo conducted a concert of 35 students from Public School 129 in Harlem and P.S. 152 in Flatbush. The concert, which took place at Gotham Hall in midtown New York, was part of the Harmony Program's annual gala to raise money. Domingo received the inaugural Harmony Program Award in recognition of his career.

Programs similar in nature to El Sistema can be found in growing numbers around the country. In L.A., the Harmony Project, founded in 2001, provides classical music education for low-income children. The organization is one of the partners involved in the Los Angeles Philharmonic's YOLA Expo Center Youth Orchestra.

Domingo will return to L.A. to perform the title role in Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra," which begins performances Feb. 11.


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Photo: Placido Domingo, with young musicians from New York's Harmony Program. Credit: Kathy Willens / Associated Press