Venezuelan, Dominican Musicians Strike Right Note for Inclusion, Integration

A symphonic orchestra with musicians from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic made its debut on 6 November in Santo Domingo. Photo: IOM 

Santo Domingo – A charity musical gala held last week (06/11) by the Venezuelan-Dominican Chamber of Commerce and supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), was the perfect occasion to present the Dominican-Venezuelan Symphonic Orchestra and delight the public with a varied programme of classical music and folklore from both countries. 

“There are more than 90 orchestras made up of Venezuelan refugees and migrants around the world. The Dominican Republic had the musicians and talent to create ours,” explained Javier Abi Harb, director of the orchestra, minutes before it started its first performance. 

The orchestra has 50 musicians, 33 Venezuelan nationals and 17 Dominicans, mostly with extensive experience, but also with the participation of young beginners from different music schools in Santo Domingo. 

“The philosophy and methodology of the National System of Youth and Children's Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela, where many of the musicians that make up this orchestra come from, is inclusion, integration. This orchestra is a sample of that. We have musicians of the most varied ages, origins, and experiences,” said Abi Harb, who was also responsible for the programme that thrilled the audience. 

From Puccini's Oh Mio Babbino Caro, performed by the soprano Paola Prado, to Juan Luis Guerra's La Bilirubina, the orchestra played during the musical gala, held for the benefit of the association dedicated to supporting children in vulnerable situations. 

“It is essential to support the activities of economic and social integration of Venezuelan migrants into Dominican society. No better way to do it than through culture and music,” said Josué Gastelbondo, acting IOM Head of Mission in the Dominican Republic. “This orchestra is an opportunity and an example of intercultural integration. We are pleased to contribute.” 

According to the Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela, R4V, there are currently 30 thousand Venezuelan nationals residing in the Dominican Republic. Most of them have irregular immigration status, a situation that limits their access to opportunities for economic and labour integration. 

Through local organizations and NGOs, IOM has been supporting Venezuelans in vulnerable situations in the Dominican Republic since 2018, as part of the Response Plan for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela. These initiatives are possible thanks to the financial support of the US State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). 

For more information, please contact Zinnia Martínez at IOM Dominican Republic, Tel: +1 809 688 8174, Email:  ​