VENEZUELA: New Chords in Caracas

At 9:15 the audience in the crowded old Caracas Municipal Theater began to clap and whistle. At 9:45 the red curtain finally went up. Tall, mustachioed old Maestro Vicente Emilio Sojo bowed from the podium, turned and led his 76 musicians in Hail the Brave People, Venezuela's national anthem. The first concert of the revitalized Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela (founded 1930) was off to a trumpeting start.

It was a great night for the old conductor, who had almost singlehanded built a crew of amateur parlor-fiddlers into a professional orchestra. Forty years...

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