Behind the expression ‘El Sistema’ is a program for the musical education of Venezuelan children and young people that is unique around the globe. Parallel to this year’s Salzburg Festival, Leica Camera will be showing equally unique images of the orchestra and, in a series of exhibitions, invites viewers to take a look behind the scenes of the work of the project as it has never been shown before.

The Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana Simón Bolívar, the Venezuelan state youth symphony orchestra founded in 1975 by José Antonio Abreu, offers young Venezuelans an opportunity to enjoy a sound musical education, free of charge and completely independent of their ethnic origins or social backgrounds. Almost 400,000 children currently take part in the program and over 70% of these children come from socially disadvantaged homes.

The photographers Meridith Kohut, Oscar B. Castillo and Carlos Javier Ortiz documented the daily lives of Sistema children and their music in three unique collections of photos that are now being exhibited by Leica Camera in the course of the Salzburg Festival. The curated exhibitions illustrate the enormous importance of the ‘Sistema’ and music as an integrative and unifying element in the development of the social consciousness of Venezuelan children and the country’s cultural climate. El Sistema shows how music can overcome social extremes and build bridges between the elite and the majority of Venezuelan society. This is impressively reflected in the images.

The exhibition ‘The Venezuelan wonder – El Sistema and the power of music’ will be officially opened in the course of the Salzburg Festival on July 24, 2013, in the foyer of the Große Festspielhaus and will remain open to visitors until September 1, 2013. The exhibition will be opened by José Antonio Abreu, the founding father of ‘El Sistema’.
Images documenting the project will also be shown from July 12 until August 9 in the Leica Galerie Salzburg, Mirabellplatz 8. More images will be shown in an outdoor exhibition between Mozartsteg and Müllnersteg on the banks of the River Salzach from July 20 to September 1, 2013.
– Leica Internet Team
Learn more about Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana Simón Bolívar here. For more information, please visit Salzburg Festival’s website.