GEORGE GERSHWIN • Cuban Overture
ALBERTO GINASTERA • Danzas de Estancia, Op. 8a
GUSTAV MAHLER • Symphony No. 1 in D (1884–88)
We thank for the support and collaboration:
Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar. Órgano Rector del Sistema Nacional de las Orquestas y Coros Juveniles e Infantiles de Venezuela. Tocar y Luchar.
Duration of concert approx. 2 hours 5 minutes.
Print programme (PDF)
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
When I first conducted the Infantil Orchestra three years ago in Caracas, I could not believe that children as young as nine and never older than 14 could not only play all the notes, but also could make such wonderful music. It is exhilarating and life-enhancing. So I had no hesitation in accepting the invitation of Alexander Pereira and Maestro Abreu to conduct Mahler 1 with the Infantil Orchestra (even younger this time) at the 2013 Festival. This is, quite simply, the future of music. Those of you lucky enough to hear the concerts will see why. Simon Rattle
When the National Children’s Symphony Orchestra was initiated in 2010 by José Antonio Abreu, Simon Rattle took the podium himself and conducted the first-ever concert of the new Venezuelan children’s orchestra at the Aula Magna of the University of Caracas. 377 children between the ages of eight and 13 played works by Gershwin, Fauré and Ginastera with great passion and musical seriousness. The fact that this young ensemble also dared to play Mahler’s Symphony No 1, however, astonished all those present – and was rewarded with standing ovations. This summer, the National Children’s Symphony Orchestra embarks upon its first tour abroad, following the invitation of the Salzburg Festival – but “only” with about 250 members. And once again, it will be Simon Rattle who conducts the children’s orchestra in its international debut.
However, some of the children will be different from three years ago, for in the meantime, many of the young musicians have grown out of the children’s orchestra, moving on to perform in one of Venezuela’s youth orchestras. The Salzburg programme once again features Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 as the central work, in addition to Gershwin’s Cuban Overture and Danzas de Estancia by the Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera. The latter will be conducted by 18-year-old Jesús Parra, the latest child prodigy to come of out El Sistema. Apart from these two concerts at the Felsenreitschule, the National Children’s Symphony Orchestra will encounter various ensembles in Salzburg which are implementing the idea of El Sistema in their own countries – for example, the Austrian initiative superar or the Turkish children’s orchestra “Music for Peace”. On August 7, there will also be a public orchestral rehearsal with the Mozart Children’s Orchestra of the Mozarteum Foundation.
SALZBURG FESTIVAL BLOG
Music as a means to change society. This vision of
José Antonio Abreu stood at the beginning of the initiative El Sistema. And
this vision has become reality. More than two million children have profited
from El Sistema in Venezuela since its founding; currently almost 400,000
children, mainly from disadvantaged social strata, are learning an instrument
and making music in the country’s ensembles and orchestras, gaining a new
perspective on life. In the meantime, the movement has spread around the world.
More than one hundred similar projects all over the world have taken
inspiration from this great philosophy, believing passionately in the power of
music. We share this passion and are convinced that El Sistema at the Salzburg
Festival will contribute to strengthening existing initiatives – like superar –
and providing new impulses for the realisation of similar projects in other
countries, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.
Download the El Sistema programme here:
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Untitled, © Eva Schlegel
A Partnership for El Sistema at the Salzburg Festival
Music as a means for social change. This vision of José Antonio Abreu stood at the beginning of the initiative El Sistema. And this vision became reality. Over two million children in Venezuela have benefited from El Sistema since its founding, and currently there are almost 400,000 children, mainly from disadvantaged social strata, who are learning to play an instrument and perform in the country’s ensembles and orchestras, gaining a new perspective on life.
In the meantime, the movement has gained traction all over the world. More than one hundred projects throughout the world have adopted this wonderful philosophy, believing passionately in the power of music.
We share this passion, and we hope that the residency of El Sistema at the Salzburg Festival will support and contribute new impulses to existing initiatives – for example SUPERAR – and also inspire others to realize similar projects in other countries, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.
Red Bull Media House
“For the children we work with, music is practically the only path to a social existence in human dignity. Poverty means loneliness, sadness, anonymity. An orchestra means joy, motivation, teamwork, striving for success.”
José Antonio Abreu
El Sistema – The Miracle. In 1975, José Antonio Abreu, conductor, composer and economist, developed the idea of improving social conditions in his country through classical music, by giving children an alternative to life on the streets. In Caracas, he founded the first Venezuelan children’s orchestra with twelve children from the barrios, the illegal suburban slums. Since then, he has built a network of orchestras and music centres – El Sistema – throughout the country; each of these teaches in the same unique way. The focus of this method of music education is on the ability to play together, which is why the children are integrated into orchestras from the very beginning. The transfer of knowledge from older to younger children is also part of Abreu’s intention and philosophy: to him, an orchestra is first and foremost a community in which children learn to listen to and respect each other. Thus, the goal is to integrate them into a social network in which every individual takes responsibility and contributes to the results achieved jointly. Maestro Abreu has been able to build upon and expand his vision continuously over the course of more than three decades. The children’s orchestras turned into youth orchestras and the music centres into academies where highly talented musicians study. During recent years, El Sistema has produced a whole series of internationally successful conductors, the most well-known of which is surely Gustavo Dudamel. At the present time, there are 286 music centres in Venezuela, the so-called nucléos, usually located at the edge of a barrio. Today, the Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar (the national system of youth and children’s orchestras and choruses of Venezuela) unites almost 400,000 members throughout the entire country in a system of preschool orchestras, children’s orchestras, and youth orchestras, all the way to adult symphony orchestras and choruses. 75 % of the children and teenagers participating in the programme live below the poverty line.
As part of the 2013 Salzburg Festival, this visionary and exemplary project will be presented for the first time in a larger context and in its full diversity outside of Venezuela. To achieve this goal, the Salzburg Festival has invited not only the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra – the orchestral training programme’s flagship, which has appeared previously in Salzburg – but also five of El Sistema’s other ensembles. The selection of ensembles, especially the invitation of the White Hands Choir (which unites children and teenagers with various disabilities), makes it clear that El Sistema is primarily a social project, which does its utmost to integrate as many social groups as possible, instead of excluding anyone.
Simon Rattle, who has been closely associated with El Sistema and has championed it for many years, will convey his enthusiasm for El Sistema to Salzburg’s audiences, along with Gustavo Dudamel and many other artists.
Apart from the symphonic and choral concerts, there will also be a chance for encounters and exchanges with institutions and initiatives from Salzburg and Austria. One example is the participation of children who are members of superar (the Austrian El Sistema initiative) in the grand opening concert of the El Sistema residence on July 24, when Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 will be performed under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel; another is a joint project of members of Venezuela’s Children’s Orchestra and members of the Mozart Children’s Orchestra of the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation.
The Salzburg residence of El Sistema features not only concerts, but also symposia, workshops and conferences. Altogether, during the summer of 2013, far more than one thousand children and teenagers will travel from Venezuela to Salzburg, together with their teachers and accompanying persons.
At each of their concerts, the most convincing element of the Venezuelan children’s and teenagers’ performances is their boundless enthusiasm and their passionate music-making. Surely, the large-scale Salzburg residence of El Sistema will bring important impulses for new developments and efforts in Europe to introduce children and young people to classical music and joint music-making.
LEICA will commission renowned photographers to document the project.
Translated by Alexa Nieschlag
by Alexander Pereira and Florian Wiegand
THE PROGRAMME 2014
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