After the concert, led by Sir Simon Rattle and Jesus Parra, the 208 members of the first children’s orchestra featured at the Salzburg Festival presented the English conductor with multiple violin shaped medals hung on Venezuelan-flag ribbons. Rattle, in his turn, invited on stage 32 professors at El Sistema who accompanied the orchestra to Salzburg. They received special thanks accompanied by cheers and applauses from the young musicians.
Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo was among the audience and had this to say about the concert: “What Abreu has done for humanity and music during the last 38 years never ceases to amaze me. You see the tears on the faces of the audience and you can not help wondering how come these children can play with such artistry! It’s awesome. I wonder what would have happened to these kids without a program like El Sistema. I insist that maestro Abreu deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.”
José Antonio Abreu thanked the Ministry of People’s Power for the President’s Office for its support: “The valuable support of President Nicolás Maduro and other collaborators has helped Venezuelan yougsters to succeed with music,” he explained.