As post-election trauma and violence sweep across Iran, the powerfully positive forces of music and dance are also at work transforming our world.
Today, I was exposed to two inspirational musical initiatives, one of which I’d like to share with you now (I’m saving the other one for later).
But if you choose to watch only one, make it the second. And enjoy 🙂
El Sistema ("the system"), was established in 1975 by Venezuelan Jose Antonio Abreu, an economist, musician, and reformer, to help Venezuelan kids take part in classical music.
Abreu started out with 11 youngsters. After 30 years (and 10 political administrations), El Sistema is a nationwide organization of 102 youth orchestras, 55 children’s orchestras, and 270 music centers — and close to 250,000 young musicians.
This first video, an interview with Boston Phoenix classical music editor Lloyd Schwartz, explains the concept of El Sistema, and includes clips from a 2005 performance by one of the many orchestras that are now part of "the system."
This second video is a performance by the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra in February 2009. The orchestra comprises the best high school musicians from the life-changing music program.
Led here by 28-year-old Gustavo Dudamel (a graduate of the programme who was recently appointed the Musical Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra), they play Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, 2nd movement, and Arturo Márquez’ Danzón No. 2.
The performance is ABSOLUTELY STUNNING. It will take your breath away. Guaranteed. Not only are the musicians staggeringly talented, they’re also having FUN!
The third video is an extraordinary TED Talk, featuring Jose Antonio Abreu, El Sistema founder. He talks about how music transforms lives, families and communities. His passion, dedication and love of music made my cry. Truly inspirational in every sense of the word.