[Translated by Google from Tatjana's native German; please excuse incorrect grammar.]
It is indeed overwhelming what Maestro José Antonio Abreu has built up here! He has an unshakable faith in the abilities and strengths of people and you get the impression that he has those transferred to all its employees, the 285 núcleo conductors and the adults and children in the project. How else can you explain that16-year-old Alexandra drives every day four to five hours from a small Andean village without clean tap water to come to an after school orchestra rehearsal in Mérida and on Saturdays travels in addition a further three hours to another even further away núcleo to teach? Where a mentally disabled 21-year-old named José is a conductor and presses his business card in my hand? How often do people pay a lot of money to experience children and youth from a "third world country" in concert and then considered for several minutes with a standing ovation? This happened in the fourteen concerts at the Salzburg Festival with a total of 1,400 Venezuelan performers this year!
El Sistema is far from perfect.Everywhere there are problems and often need to be improvised to make limited financial resources, the best. And yet people are hungry then to be part of it.Communities ask their mayor to open a núcleo and parents make it their daily work that they can bring their children for music lessons in the afternoon.
For me, now is a central question of how musicians and music educators from other countries can learn from Venezuela - naturally Peru and Germany interest me in particular. I know that you can not just copy or replicate this model. In each country, governed by its own social, economic and political conditions, there are large differences in mentality. In Germany, for example, we have already so many existing structures and a rich musical culture. But I think it is worthwhile to reflect on what value we ascribe the individual artistic development and the technical perfection, and what weight we give to the music as a community-forming agent. The kids here do not come to the nucleos because they hope to improve their violin technique, they come because this is the place where all their friends are and where they come up as an individual in the group and achieve high-class artistic results with the group.
Please continue reading on my personal blog.
Sistema Fellow '14