KATARZYNA ŁUKASIEWICZ

 

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EL SISTEMA 

(ongoing)


The story of El Sistema began in 1975 in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, where economist and visionary maestro José Antonio Abreu organized an orchestra rehearsal for young people coming from communities at risk. 11 youths came on the first day, a month later – 75. After four months the ensemble gave its first public concert. Thereafter, the official “El Sistema” was established – a community music program with numerous so called "núcleos". Núcleos are structures where free music education is offered. Structures such as these were gradually opened in all states of Venezuela. El Sistema in Spanish means system. For Abreu an orchestra represented the structure of a functioning society with a common goal that can be achieved only when all members work together. Apart from musical excellence, El Sistema set also other types of goals such as a team-based approach to the collective, cooperative education based on trust, commitment, structure, discipline, empathy, self-esteem, and youth empowerment. The Venezuelan project has inspired more than 380 similar music social actions and initiatives in more than seventy countries with more than one million children learning classical music. One of the places where El Sistema is a great platform for dialogue and togetherness across diverse communities with music used as a tool for social inclusion is Greece, where in 2015 more than a million refugees and migrants arrived. El Sistema Greece was founded a year after by Anis Barnat, who after volunteering in Lesvos came up with the idea of supporting the refugee communities through music education. The organization aims to integrate refugees with Greek youth and children from migrant communities with long-term residence and spreads music in Athens by providing daily musical activities in various neighbourhoods and refugee camps.