Founded in 1975 for the purpose of advancing the academic education of El Sistema’s members, the Simón Bolívar Conservatory of Music (SBCM) operates under a concept different to that of the Venezuelan traditional conservatories: the collective practice of music is an essential part of its teaching program.
Over 150,000 youngsters have studied at this conservatory and have obtained a diploma in music performance recognized by the Venezuelan Ministry of Education. Undergraduates pursue an eight-year program leading to a degree in performance (of a chosen instrument) or composition.
Students at El Sistema or any other Venezuelan or foreign music institution are welcome to submit applications for admission. To be eligible for selection, applicants must be 12 years old or older, and meet entry requirements.
This conservatory has 36 well-equipped classrooms where 96 professors teach courses in musical instruments, Music theory; Texture (counterpoint and harmony), Music history, Aesthetics, Chamber music, Orchestral practice, Singing, Venezuelan music, and Supplementary piano. Besides the classrooms, the Simón Bolívar Conservatory of Music has the Iván Adler Concert Hall, a multifunctional space with an audience capacity of 150. Concert seasons, solo performances and master classes are held there.
Professors Valdemar Rodríguez and Evelio Barazarte —Director and Assistant Director, respectively, of the Simón Bolívar Conservatory of Music— coordinate a 90-member faculty mainly educated at El Sistema. Among the faculty members are: Eddy Marcano, Edgar Aponte, Camilo Acosta and Evelio Barazarte (violin), Félix Petit (double bass), Germán Marcano and Francy Vásquez (cello), Andrés Eloy Medina (oboe), Iván Hernández (percussion), María Beatriz Cárdenas (viola), Alexander Barrios (trumpet), Omar Ascanio (bassoon), Valdemar Rodríguez and Gorgias Sánchez (clarinet), Víctor Rojas, Nicolás Real and José García (flute), and David Ascanio and Domenico Lombardi (piano).
The Simón Bolívar Conservatory of Music is home to the Symphony Youth Orchestra of Caracas, the Simón Bolívar Youth Symphony Band, the Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz, the Simón Bolívar Latin-Caribbean Orchestra, the Youth Orchestra of the Simón Bolívar Conservatory of Music, the Simón Bolívar Afro-Venezuelan Orchestra, the Simón Bolívar Conservatory of Music Youth Choir and the Simón Bolívar Symphonic Rock Orchestra.
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