El Sistema Diary: The Aesthetics of Generosity

At La Sede, young musicians were invited to listen in to Deutsche Grammophon's recording session of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra under Gustavo Dudamel. Sitting in the front rows, the children were attentive to the orchestra’s every sound and nuance. Seeing them all there, at such an important and historic ocassion--listening, describing, and embracing the music-making--was a beautiful experience.

We were all captivated by the performance. Over the years, the orchestra has grown to acquire a unique personality and palpable charisma. Beethoven was pushed to the limits. The Eroica lived and breathed in a space of increasingly wider dynamic ranges and more expansive phrases, always emphasizing the ground-breaking essence of the old-age narrative. It will be a recording that will generate a lot of interest among classical music enthusiasts. 

One could readily feel Beethoven’s sense of angst and despair, of heroism and possibility. Today, Gustavo Dudamel and his orchestra took on the role of heroes, relating stories of passion and possibility to us all, and most importantly, to the young audiences in the concert hall.

One of the most fascinating aspects of our art form is how people can come to relate with one another through the experience of listening to or performing music. Part of the aesthetics of El Sistema stem from realizing meaningful connections to narratives of feeling.  What are the kind of experiences that we can create together? And how can we share them with those around us? It is truly a space of generosity, marked by ideals of profound solidarity and joy. This is part of what guides the mission of El Sistema--giving young people opportunities to relate to and learn from one another, build relationships, and imagine life-changing trajectories.
 
I also thanked Maestro Abreu for that same gift to us. For allowing us to enter into the narratives of El Sistema, and in doing so, inviting us to realize that in a space of  generosity, anything may be possible.  

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