Thrilled at the reaction of the audience to the performance, on 11 August, of the National Children’s Orchestra of Venezuela (NCOV) at the Salzburg Festival, its president, Helga Rabl-Stadler said El Sistema residency made possible to realize the great dream of the festival’s founders: to convey a message of peace through music that leads to a social transformation. Helga Rabl-Stadler also said the institution she represents will strengthen the ties with the Venezuelan programme and will support Abreu’s project of bringing the Salzburg Festival to Caracas.
For his part, Alexander Pereira, artistic director of the festival, thanked El Sistema for renewing their vigour, which will allow them to continue working towards improving music education in Europe.
The El Sistema residency in Salzburg has proved fruitful also for the Venezuela ensembles that are part the System of the Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela. They have been invited to appear with tenor Plácido Domingo at the 2014 FIFA World Cup under Gustavo Dudamel, and –according to maestro José Antonio Abreu— El Sistema has also been invited to participate in the 2015 Milan World’s Fair.
The El Sistema residency in Salzburg was given media coverage in Austria and Germany. In an article published by the Salzburger Nachrichten, the rendition of the Symphony of a Thousand given by the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela under Gustavo Dudamel was highly praised, and the Venezuelan conductor was described by the music critic Karlheinz Roschitz as a magician.
The Youth Orchestra of Caracas also received great critics by the Salzburger Nachrichten, especially for its participation in the opening ceremony of the festival that thrilled the audience and won it cheers and ovations. “The audience at Festpielhaus had gone wild. Why? Simple: El Sistema arrived in the city of Mozart,” reported the newspaper.
Highlights of the El Sistema residency
- During the three-week residency of El Sistema in Salzburg, some hotels and buildings flew the Venezuelan flag.
- Maestro José Antonio Abreu was the keynote speaker of the opening ceremony of the Salzburg Festival, in which the Youth Orchestra of Caracas, under the baton of Dietrich Paredes, provided the entertainment.
- Under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and the Simón Bolívar National Youth Choir (SBNYC) were given the honor to play Mozart’s Mass in C Minor in St. Peter’s Abbey, where the piece was premiered in 1783.
- For the first time in the history of festival, an ensemble made up of youngsters with disabilities and a children’s orchestra, the White Hands Choir and the National Children’s Orchestra of Venezuela respectively, were featured.