“It is a great bet, something we have always wanted”: The Young Philharmonic of Colombia and its desire to win a Grammy from the hand of Andrés Cepeda


More than fifty artists will gather on a single stage, a challenge considering the prolonged restriction of face-to-face and massive events due to covid-19. Now, days until millions of Colombians can see this concert that brings together, on a single platform, the best of typical Colombian music and the extensive Christmas repertoire that has accompanied families for generations, the Colombian Youth Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrés Cepeda himself spoke about their emotions prior to the concert that can be seen through the Davivienda YouTube channel.

Infobae Colombia: What feelings do you have regarding the return of face-to-face events after the stoppage due to the pandemic?

Young Philharmonic Orchestra (OF): It feels like everything… We haven’t seen each other for a long time and arriving at a concert this Christmas season and with maestro Andrés -Cepeda- is an explosion of feelings; it is going to be super beautiful to play in this concert.

Andres cepeda: A few months ago we began to slowly return to that normality of live events and it has been exciting to do what we love so much again, and I speak on behalf of myself and my colleagues from the entire orchestra. To meet again, especially in such a large format, because with me we are 57 people on stage, it has implied some logistical challenges, also health and, in addition, artistic challenges inherent to the assembly of an event like this: choosing the repertoire, making the music Christmas, putting together my songs … It is a very interesting creative process that can be summed up in the great happiness of doing what we want so much again and in my case it is very exciting to also be next to an orchestra made up of young people from different regions of our country, the most talented people in the regions summoned to participate in this event, that is why we want people to accompany us, witnessing at least from their homes what we have prepared for you during these weeks

How complex was the logistical and artistic preparation and the process to summon artists like Andrés Cepeda to a single stage?

(OF): Well, this is the first large format that we do since the pandemic began with the Young Philharmonic of Colombia; We had a first concert exercise recently, in November, with the Barroco Festival. Right now, for Christmas, putting together an orchestra of 56 musicians requires greater challenges in terms of protocols, of being very rigorous in all the preparation of the stage, the space and also counting the people who are not on stage. So it’s almost like preparing a mega-production, but it renews your illusion a lot, that desire to continue connecting an audience and for us, connecting young people from the country with artists like Andrés is the opportunity to shine again and believe that we can continue bringing music to different corners of the country.

Are there nerves or anxiety when playing on the same stage with Andrés Cepeda?

OF: Doing this concert was very easy, not in the negative sense, but because of the repertoire we played, including Andrés’ and the traditional Colombian one, it came out very organic, different from when we played symphonies or universal repertoire. It seems to me that also due to some identity, it is easier to play the music with which we were born, so because it is Christmas and because it is about the teacher Andrés and his repertoire, we found it easy to do so.

They are unique experiences, playing with people from different parts of the country and that is why I also consider that the orchestra is like a family; They all behave very well with you and the fact of interpreting notes that you have heard all your life really comes to you, because you think about your family.

Andres cepeda: The preparation was easier than we imagined considering how little time there was; In addition to that, there has been so much activity in recent months and yes, it was nice for me to get to rehearsals and find a super-prepared orchestra that was sounding divine and with very clear and learned arrangements; In that sense, it was very easy to prepare because we interpret music that reaches our hearts and when we are all in those sensations, because the work of the directors and the entire production is much simplified because they all tune in the same direction.

The musical repertoire is divided between part of Cepeda’s musical work and several Christmas carols and typical Colombian songs, ‘Navidad negra’ is one of them.

Seeing that very recently the Medellín Philharmonic won a Latin Gramy and that Andrés took this same statuette in 2020 with the album ‘Compadres’, do you aspire to an award of this level with the realization of this event?

Cepeda: This project can fall into a category called ‘Best Long Live Video, and we could go in, of course. I think that both the repertoire and the quality of the musical and visual montage deserve it; In addition, we all aspire to this type of recognition, whether as composers, producers or members of a group, and that is precisely the invitation that the Latin Grammy awards us, to nominate all those projects in which we believe.

OF: It’s a great gamble, something we’ve always wanted; We know about the antecedents that Colombian orchestras have in these awards and well, for us it is a very big purpose. In fact, the Grammy Foundation has granted scholarships to musicians from the Young Philharmonic to continue their studies abroad, so for us, winning that award would be a great recognition of the work that the whole country does for symphonic music.

Finally, it is worth noting that the musical meeting will be held under the motto ‘Let’s shine again, it’s Christmas’, inspired by the return to the stages and mass events after the restrictions imposed since March 2020.


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“It is a great bet, something we have always wanted”: The Young Philharmonic of Colombia and its desire to win a Grammy from the hand of Andrés Cepeda