Making a Social Impact through Music – Laureate

Making a Social Impact through Music

Alondra de la Parra

Alondra de la Parra has gained international attention for conducting over 100 of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, and for her commitment to Latin American composers.

The music director, who received an Honorary Doctorate from UVM on the university’s 55th anniversary in 2016, has worked with orchestras in Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo.

In addition to her significant professional success, Alondra has a strong track record in social impact. She is a UNICEF ambassador, an official cultural ambassador of Mexico, and has developed arts and education programs for underprivileged youth in the US and Mexico.

In 2004, Alondra founded the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, when she was just 23 years old. Her mission was to create an orchestra that would serve as a platform to showcase young performers and composers from the Americas. The New York based orchestra comprises the next generation of emerging classical music talent (mostly aged under 35), with members from more than 20 different countries.

Since its inception, the Orchestra has performed for the President of Mexico and been hosted at the White House; performed for over 30,000 concertgoers in New York, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Oaxaca, Dallas and Washington DC, among other cities; provided New York City debut opportunities for emerging soloists; performed world premieres of American composers; and established an international Young Composers’ Competition.

Last year, due to the pandemic, Alondra founded, conducted and performed in her remotely directed La Orquesta Imposible (The Impossible Orchestra), bringing together 30 of the best musicians in the world to create a music video recorded in studios in Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Berlin and Valencia.

The 10-minute video clip and a 10-minute behind-the-scenes documentary raised funds for Save the Children and Fondo Semillas, organizations working to address the plight of women suffering violence and murder in Alondra’s native country of Mexico.

In discussing the contribution of music during the pandemic, Alondra said: “For classical music, I think it is very important to be part of the world’s problems and part of the solution, and to really serve humanity. That is the aim of this project.”

“Every time there is a crisis, there is an interesting cultural outburst. When people struggle and are taken out of their comfort zones, creativity comes out, there is no doubt.”