Music for All the Americas
Hilda Brillembourg’s Youth Orchestra of the Americas’ first North American Summer Tour is stopping in Washington, Aug. 6-8. New partnerships with the DC Youth Orchestra and the OAS were celebrated at a kick-off luncheon given by Isabel and Ricardo Ernst. As Brillembourg will tell you, YOA was a dream collaboration of Boston’s New England Conservatory and Vision, Inc., the supporting organization she and her husband Arturo founded. “Wherever YOA goes, we change lives,” the powerful Venezuelan-born, Georgetown-based financier promises. “We have given eight million children the incredible gift of music since 2001.” The original inspiration for YOA, Brillembourg says, came from José Antonio Abreu’s national youth orchestra system in Venezuela.
Today, its guest artists include Plácido Domingo (artistic advisor), cellist Yo-Yo Ma (played at a 2002 Wolf Trap performance) and Venezuelan virtuoso Gabriela Montero (a dazzling Inaugural string quartet member). This summer, 75 YOA musicians, aged 18-28 and from 21 different countries, will perform in New England and Canada before coming here to Strathmore, THEArc, the OAS, and the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Former protocol chief Nancy Brinker, the World Health Organization’s newly-appointed goodwill ambassador for cancer control, is carrying the torch to 200 countries for the Susan G. Komen National Race for the Cure, now officially the Global Race for the Cure, to highlight the need for early breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Survivors from 18 countries were among 45,000 participants on the Mall for the early morning run/walk on June 6, which raised $4.3 million.
Dr. Jill Biden, long-time advocate for breast health education, was there with Vice President Joe Biden and their family. HRH Crown Prince Alexander II and his wife, Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia, came to address the high incidence of the disease – the worst in Europe – in their country. “There are no borders in suffering,” Crown Prince Alexander told the crowd. A record 42 embassy teams included first-time entry Bahrain with Ambassador Houda Nonoo, Saudi Arabia with 39 teammates including babies, and South African Ambassador Welile Nhlapo and his wife, Sissy, too. If only the Opera Ball hadn’t been the night before, more top envoys might have changed their dancing pumps for running shoes.
It’s been more than 27 years since Brinker founded the Susan G. Komen Foundation to fulfill a promise to her sister, who died of breast cancer at 36. “Without a cure, in the next 25 years, an estimated 11 million will die from the disease worldwide,” the former ambassador to Hungary warned. “That’s more than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined.”