The Promise of Music

The Promise of Music

Enrique Sánchez Lansch (Venezuela, 2008)



Live performance by the Venezuelan Cultural Association of the Triangle.
Introduction by Katie Wyatt, Director KidzNotes of Durham.

Whenever the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and its charismatic conductor Gustavo Dudamel perform, they receive a highly enthusiastic welcome from audiences and critics alike. At just twenty-six, Dudamel has already been Musical Director of the youth orchestra for eight years and is acknowledged as one of the most important conductors of his generation. However, this is not just the story of some prodigy. Dudamel himself describes music as a “social life-saver”. The Bolívar Youth Orchestra owes its existence to the musician, economist and politician José Antonio Abreu. He started El Sistema in 1975 with the vision of offering children living in poverty a new perspective on life through music. There are now around 30 professional orchestras, 125 youth orchestras, about 15,000 music teachers and a quarter of a million pupils receiving musical training. Children as young as two years old are offered music lessons free of charge and the instruments are provided free of charge. Of course, children are not given one-to-one-lessons but are immediately integrated into an orchestra, since motivation, mutual respect and joint efforts towards communal success are at the heart of this project.


University Theater. Farrison-Newton, Communications Building NCCU. (Corner Fayeteville and Lawson) Durham. NC