THE VENEZUELAN MUSIC EDUCATION MIRACLE
“Music is no longer separated from daily life, but is in fact nourished by and nourishes daily life. Nourished by music, everyday life is transformed into an aesthetic experience, where harmony and beauty are cultivated in different areas such as nature, the school, the city, even in oneself.”
José Antonio Abreu, Founding Director, El Sistema
News of the monumental success of El Sistema, Venezuela’s 32-year-old program of social action through music, is rapidly spreading throughout the world. Today over 250,000 Venezuelan teenagers and children, most from impoverished backgrounds, are being filled with an “affluence of the spirit” through the intensive study of music and the participation in orchestras and ensembles. No less a figure than Sir Simon Rattle, conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, has called El Sistema “the most important thing happening in classical music in the world today.”
As part of the NEC-sponsored Boston residency of El Sistema’s flagship orchestra, the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, the symposium, organized by NEC’s Center for Music-in-Education, will explore the questions on everyone’s lips: How did this phenomenon come about? How can we learn from it? How can we apply it in our own country? Join Maestro José Antonio Abreu and leading figures in education and culture to explore the answers.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2007
NEW ENGLAND CONSERVATORY
2:00 p.m. — Welcome by NEC President, Tony Woodcock
2:10 p.m. — The Purpose and Goals of the El Sistema Public Symposium, by Eric Booth
2:20 p.m. — Keynote address by José Antonio Abreu, visionary founder of El Sistema
2:45 p.m. — Screening of excerpts from Tocar y Luchar (“To Play and To Struggle”), the moving documentary of El Sistema’s first 30 years
3:30 p.m. — Panel discussion moderated by Eric Booth, celebrated author on arts in education and founder of the Teaching Artist Journal
• Polly Kahn, Vice-President, League of American Orchestras
• Mark Slavkin, Vice President for Education, Los Angeles Music Center
• Leni Boorstin, Director of Community Affairs, Los Angeles Philharmonic
• Sebastian Ruth, Founder/Executive-Artistic Director, Community MusicWorks
• Steve Seidel, Director, Harvard Project Zero
• George Simpson, Music Educator, Boston Public Schools & Director, Roland Hayes School of Music
• John Tobin, Boston City Council, Chair of Committee on the Arts
• Mark Churchill, Dean of Preparatory & Continuing Education, NEC
4:15 p.m. — Open Discussion
5:00 p.m. — Festive reception for all participants
8:00 p.m. — Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela concert at Symphony Hall (tickets required). See ticket information here.
Symposium free and open to the public. To reserve a space, and for complete information contact www.mieatnec.org/venezuelasymposium or call 617-585-1362.