Remarks on Artistry and El Sistema in Venezuela at the Sistema Fellows Graduation at NEC
Good Afternoon. I am soon to be a graduate of the Sistema Fellows Program at the New England Conservatory.
And that is a beautiful thing.
This year has been a transformative journey. To have had the opportunity to visit for five weeks in Venezuela, living inside the sounds, the music, and the joy of El Sistema; an experience that has not only been transformational for us as visiting artists, but even more so: for an entire nation that continually sees itself growing and developing through music.
Throughout the year in the fellowship, we had many opportunities to come together to analyze, study and reflect upon about what the Sistema phenomenon is and what it may entail. After months of study, and finally visiting in Venezuela, I came to the realization that some of the best things in life cannot be described and that there may be no explicable language to express the dimensions of their goodness. These good things, like music, faith, and love can never be truly put into words.
When we visited in Venezuela, we found a community of teachers and learners that was truly beautiful. Individuals that showed us through practice of their art, new paradigms for the role of classical music in our times. They also showed us the extent of what is really possible in music, and in life.
As we worked with orchestras and choirs, teaching hundreds of children and young adults, I found in their sound a new aesthetic.
An aesthetic of possibility.
A possibility that comes through and is grounded upon the idea of access. An arts experience that is participatory and given freely through a spirit of generosity.
These aesthetics of sound and possibility are transforming the way we think about classical music in our times; transforming artistic organizations and conservatories around the world, leading us to new pathways to best understand the power of the arts experience.
Art, as Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu contends, implies a sense of perfection. Therefore, of excellence. A path to excellence. Camino a la excelencia.
Couple this notion with the idea of bringing more people in this path, and we shall have a winning formula. And a much larger family dedicated to bringing music to places where it is needed the most.
For us, it has been a tremendous honor to be a part of this dream. To be a part of the dream of music. Of things, that cannot be explained, but can only be experienced.
And it is my hope that this experience will lead us forward and into the future to bring about positive and healthy change in our society today.