Philadelphia, Oct. 6, 2015 - Intercultural Journeys is pleased to present the first performance of the 2015/16 Season: ¡Contrastes! - a performance and dialogue series examining and celebrating the diversity of Venezuelan music, culture, and identity.  On Sunday, October 18, Pennsylvania Ballet Concertmaster Luigi Mazzocchi will take the stage at International House to lead a spirited ensemble in an original concert developed specifically for Intercultural Journeys. Showcasing popular music from various geographic regions of his native country, Venezuela, the concert will feature works by classical composers Antonio Lauro, Juan Bautista Plaza, Vicente Emilio Sojo, and Manuel Contreras. This concert will also feature a world premiere chamber music composition by Efraín Amaya.

IJ will also offer a free panel discussion on Wednesday, October 14 titled, "The El Sistema Spectrum: Music Education and Identity." The panel will focus on the multiple platforms of the publicly-financed Venezuelan music education program known as El Sistema, its revered success as an international model of music education, as well as its complex relationship with social class and cultural identity.

Panelists will includeLuigi Mazzocchi - Concertmaster for Pennsylvania Ballet; Daniel Berkowitz - Director of Collaborative Learning, The Philadelphia Orchestra; Stanford Thompson - Founder & Executive Director, Play on Philly!; and will be moderated by Mary Javian  - Director of Professional Development and Community Engagement, The Curtis Institute. 

Speaking of the concert and dialogue series, IJ Curator Alex Shaw said, "Venezuela currently suffers from great social division and unrest, an expanding economic recession, extreme shortages of basic needs,  violence, and some of the highest rates of corruption in the world. We offer this concert as a way of finding common ground through musical expression to help open channels for unity and peace in Venezuelan society."

The panel discussion is free and open to the public and will take place at The Academy of Vocal Arts. The concert will take place in the Ibrahim Theater at International House. Tickets are $15 for General Admission, $10 for IHP members, and $8 for students. To purchase tickets, visit or call 215-387-5125, ext. 2.


The El Sistema Spectrum: Music Education and Identity

Wednesday, October 14 - 6pm

Bossone Recital Hall, The Academy of Vocal Arts (1920 Spruce Street)


Luigi Mazzocchi; ¡Contrastes!

Sunday, October 18, 2015 - 7pm*

Ibrahim Theater, International House (3701 Chestnut Street)

*Pre-concert artist conversation at 6:15pm


About Luigi Mazzocchi

Classical violinist Luigi Mazzocchi was born in Venezuela, where he studied in the El Sistema Youth Orchestras with José F. del Castillo. He was a member of the Lara Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Venezuela and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra. Mazzocchi has performed as a soloist with the main Venezuelan orchestras and has attended international music festivals in the Americas, Europe and Australia. He is a prizewinner in solo competitions in Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the United States. He completed a Bachelor of Music degree at Rowan University with Liliana Ciulei and a Master of Music degree at Temple University with Helen Kwalwasser. Mazzocchi is the concertmaster of the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, associate concertmaster of the Delaware Symphony and a member of the Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Gaudeamus and Cachasa Ensembles. He has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Philly Pops and the Serafin String Quartet. 

About Intercultural Journeys

Intercultural Journeys seeks to promote peace and greater understanding between people of diverse backgrounds, faiths, and cultures through the arts as a catalyst for social change and awareness. Intercultural Journeys was founded in 2002 by Philadelphia Orchestra cellist Udi Bar-David, philanthropist Carole Haas Gravagno, Majid Alsayegh and Sheldon L. Thompson. Together, they saw the role that music could play in beginning a dialogue between people that might not otherwise speak to each other. Since then, Intercultural Journeys has held over 160 concerts, partnering with a diverse roster of local and international artists, in the Greater Philadelphia area, across the United States and abroad, in countries such as China, Spain, Italy and Israel. 

Media Contact

Lindsey S. Crane, Managing Director, 215-387-2310                                      High res images available upon request