None can tell us more about the man, his faith, and his vision than the words he himself has spoken.
THE WISDOM THAT MAESTRO ABREU BRINGS TO EL SISTEMA:
Whoever creates beauty by playing an instrument and generating musical harmony begins to understand from within what essential harmony is… human harmony.
What is an orchestra?
An orchestra is a community where the essential and exclusive feature is that it is the only community that comes together with the fundamental objective of agreeing with itself. Therefore the person who plays in an orchestra begins to live the experience of agreement.
And what does the experience of agreement mean? Team practice – the practice of the group that recognizes itself as interdependent, where everyone is responsible for others and the others are responsible for oneself. Agree on what? To create beauty.
Rhythm: the pulse of the soul
Is rhythm a musical phenomenon? No. Rhythm is a spiritual phenomenon. Rhythm is the internal pulse of the soul. Music sublimates the internal pulse of the soul and expresses it in a harmonious way – subtly, invisibly, and transmitted, without words, to other human beings. It is the art of making the will, soul and spirit agree to generate a message and to generate values that profoundly transform the spirit of the child who values the orchestra.
Art as revelation
What do people feel? A revelation. God reveals something, something ineffable, something that cannot be penetrated by rationality, that is only penetrable by intuition. It is that young person who, penetrated by music, challenged by the musical impulse of the tasks of the orchestra, begins a psychological transformation. We must let ourselves be moved by that art that brings us together – through music, plastic arts, literature, cinema – and begin to recognize ourselves in our essences, our identity – through art, which is the only world where we can find the true revelation of our being. The authentic being is revealed through art as a bearer of beauty, goodness, and truth.
… a sense of perfection, therefore of excellence – a road to excellence. What is it that the orchestra has planted in the souls of its members? A sense of harmony, a sense of order implicit in the rhythm, a sense of the aesthetic, the beautiful and the universal, and the language of the invisible, of the invisible transmitted unseen through music.
Why music is an effective agent of social development
It is evident that music has to be recognized as an element of socialization, as an agent of social development in the highest sense, because it transmits the highest values – solidarity, harmony, mutual compassion. And it has the ability to unite an entire community and to express sublime feelings.
A moment of doubt… and resolve
Among the most beautiful memories I keep close to my heart is that night when I saw only 11 people there, and there were 25 musical stands. I remember saying “Wait, maybe this did not work.” I had a moment of doubt, an instant; but then a boy came in with his violin, as if nothing was happening, and he opened his case and sat down. And I said, “No, I have to do it.”
The impact of El sistema
We are witness to a profound transformation of the social history of our continent. It is artistic culture, it is literature, it is superior philosophical thought. And it is spirituality through religion and art that, in synthesis, can really turn the masses into a nation.
Therefore we are faced with an enterprise of uncommon proportions. This not an artistic development planned with the goal of offering a few concerts. The orchestra not only transforms the public that hears it. Before transforming the public that is listening, it has already transformed itself. Originally, art was by a minority for the minority, then it became art by the minority for the majority. And we are beginning a new era where art is an enterprise by the majority for the majority.
Past, present and future
Heidegger says that life must be conceived as someone who swims in a sea, a sea of nothingness… and not to drown. One must always paddle towards the future. This way, the present is a future already past, a future that has been.
The vision for Venezuela
A Venezuela where every town, regardless of how small, will have its choir and its orchestra. It is an unimaginable, avant-garde culture.
The CD “Mahler: Symphony No. 5″ with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela was a FanFaire CD Giveaway.
Source of quotes: The award-winning film by Alberto Alvero, Tocar y Luchar (To Play and To Fight), available on DVD, that tells the phenomenal story of EL SISTEMA.
Credit: Images and video clip courtesy of and with permission of Deutsche Grammophon.