Conductor Alondra de la Parra and the world's classical stars unite to give a voice to vulnerable women and children

25 August 2020, 17:29 | Updated: 25 August 2020, 18:07

Alondra de la Parra and The Impossible Orchestra.

By Kyle Macdonald

The leading Mexican conductor was moved to help vulnerable women and children in her home country. So she put a call out to her musical friends.

A group of the world's finest classical musicians have come together to create a powerful statement in music, in solidarity with at-risk women and children in Mexico.

Star conductor Alondra de la Parra was at home in Mexico in March and April, feeling hopeless about all the cancelled concerts around the world, and desperate about the vulnerable situation so many people in society were in.

Mexico struggles with violence, injustice and inequality, with women and children deeply impacted. When de la Parra heard about the situation becoming even worse during the coronavirus pandemic, she felt she had to act.

“The scale of the problem is just so impossible to imagine,” she told Classic FM. “I started thinking what can I do? And what I thought I could do is call my friends and my colleagues, the best musicians I know, and do something about this situation through music.”

The overwhelming scale of the problem Alondra wanted to highlight, combined with the logistical problems of trying to create a worldwide group of musicians during COVID-19 lockdowns, gave rise to the project's name ‘The Impossible Orchestra’.

Bringing together some of the greatest musicians of our time from 14 counties, Alondra has created a video of her arrangement of Márquez’s Danzón No. 2, with choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and dancer Elisa Carrillo Cabrera. With it, as well as awareness, the conductors aims to raise money for women and children in need.

In the video you Alondra plays piano, operatic tenor Rolando Villazón plays the claves, Classic FM Artist in Residence Maxim Vengerov plays the violin, Alisa Weilerstein is on cello, young Venezuelan trumpeter Pacho Flores and more. The wonderful arrangement also features some truly virtuosic and inspired moments of improvisation.

Watch it in full here:

The Impossible Orchestra: Danzón No. 2 (Full Video)

The conductor told us, “this is a message of love and peace. I want people to feel how great it is to be human, and how great it is to have music, and to have each other. I feel this is a celebration of all the good traits of humankind”

Money raised through the project will go to Fondo Semillas, an organisation that provides Mexican women with financial resources, training, support and capacity-building, and Save The Children, one of the leading humanitarian organisations for children.

The Impossible Orchestra – Alondra de la Parra at the piano with her musical friends
The Impossible Orchestra – Alondra de la Parra at the piano with her musical friends. Picture: The Impossible Orchestra

An incredible amount of €275,000 has already been raised, and everyone involved is hoping for even more support after the launch of the video. You can find out more, donate, and support here.

We say bravo to Alonda and all the people involved. It’s a deep and powerful statement made through music at a difficult time for so many, and an emotional reminder of how music can bring us all together and help up the most vulnerable in our world.