Here is what was sent to the orchestra:
My dear friends,
As you can imagine this is a very difficult time in my country, where our president has just died. On Friday, with the country in mourning, a state funeral has been organized, and I have been asked to return to Caracas to be a part of the ceremony. As the music director of El Sistema and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, both important symbols of Venezuelan culture, I simply must return.
Tonight, together we will premiere John’s extraordinary work. And I will return in time to conduct the Sunday performance as well, but on Friday, I have asked our dear friend Grant Gershon to lead the performance. I am deeply grateful to him and to you for your understanding in this unique situation.