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  • Chris Anderson: Let's now see the extraordinary speech

  • that we captured a couple weeks ago.

  • (Music)

  • Jose Antonio Abreu: My dear friends, ladies and gentlemen,

  • I am overjoyed today

  • at being awarded the TED Prize

  • on behalf of all

  • the distinguished music teachers,

  • artists and educators from Venezuela

  • who have selflessly and loyally accompanied me for 35 years

  • in founding, growing and developing in Venezuela

  • the National System of Youth and Children's Orchestras and Choirs.

  • Since I was a boy,

  • in my early childhood,

  • I always wanted to be a musician,

  • and, thank God, I made it.

  • From my teachers, my family and my community,

  • I had all the necessary support to become a musician.

  • All my life I've dreamed

  • that all Venezuelan children

  • have the same opportunity that I had.

  • From that desire and from my heart

  • stemmed the idea to make music

  • a deep and global reality for my country.

  • From the very first rehearsal, I saw the bright future ahead.

  • Because the rehearsal meant a great challenge to me.

  • I had received a donation of 50 music stands

  • to be used by 100 boys in that rehearsal.

  • When I arrived at the rehearsal, only 11 kids had shown up,

  • and I said to myself,

  • "Do I close the program or multiply these kids?"

  • I decided to face the challenge, and on that same night,

  • I promised those 11 children I'd turn our orchestra

  • into one of the leading orchestras in the world.

  • Two months ago, I remembered that promise I made,

  • when a distinguished English critic

  • published an article in the London Times,

  • asking who could be the winner of the Orchestra World Cup.

  • He mentioned four great world orchestras,

  • and the fifth one was Venezuela's Youth Symphony Orchestra.

  • Today we can say

  • that art in Latin America

  • is no longer a monopoly of elites

  • and that it has become a social right,

  • a right for all the people.

  • Child: There is no difference here between classes,

  • nor white or black, nor if you have money or not.

  • Simply, if you are talented,

  • if you have the vocation and the will to be here,

  • you get in. You share with us and make music.

  • JA: During the recent tour

  • by the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela

  • of U.S. and Europe,

  • we saw how our music moved young audiences

  • to the bottom of their souls,

  • how children and adolescents rushed up to the stage

  • to receive the jackets from our musicians,

  • how the standing ovations, sometimes 30 minutes long,

  • seemed to last forever,

  • and how the public, after the concert was over,

  • went out into the street to greet our young people in triumph.

  • This meant not only an artistic triumph,

  • but also a profound emotional sympathy

  • between the public of the most advanced nations of the world

  • and the musical youth of Latin America,

  • as seen in Venezuela,

  • giving these audiences a message of music, vitality, energy,

  • enthusiasm and strength.

  • In its essence, the orchestra and the choir

  • are much more than artistic structures.

  • They are examples and schools of social life,

  • because to sing and to play together

  • means to intimately coexist

  • toward perfection and excellence,

  • following a strict discipline of organization and coordination

  • in order to seek the harmonic interdependence

  • of voices and instruments.

  • That's how they build a spirit of solidarity

  • and fraternity among them,

  • develop their self-esteem

  • and foster the ethical and aesthetical values

  • related to the music in all its senses.

  • This is why music is immensely important

  • in the awakening of sensibility, in the forging of values

  • and in the training of youngsters

  • to teach other kids.

  • Child: After all this time here,

  • music is life.

  • Nothing else.

  • Music is life.

  • JA: Each teenager and child in El Sistema has his own story,

  • and they are all important and of great significance to me.

  • Let me mention the case of Edicson Ruiz.

  • He is a boy from a parish in Caracas

  • who passionately attended to his double bass lessons

  • at the San Agustin's Junior Orchestra.

  • With his effort,

  • and the support of his mother, his family and his community,

  • he became a principal member

  • in the double bass segment of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • We have another well-known case -- Gustavo Dudamel.

  • He started as a boy member of the children's orchestra

  • in his hometown, Barquisimeto.

  • There, he grew as a violinist and as a conductor.

  • He became the conductor of Venezuela's junior orchestras,

  • and today conducts the world's greatest orchestras.

  • He is the musical director of Los Angeles Philharmonic,

  • and is still the overall leader of Venezuela's junior orchestras.

  • He was the conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra,

  • and he's an unbeatable example

  • for young musicians in Latin America and the world.

  • The structure of El Sistema

  • is based on a new and flexible managing style

  • adapted to the features of each community and region,

  • and today attends to 300,000 children of the lower and middle class

  • all over Venezuela.

  • It's a program of social rescue

  • and deep cultural transformation

  • designed for the whole Venezuelan society

  • with absolutely no distinctions whatsoever,

  • but emphasizing the vulnerable and endangered social groups.

  • The effect of El Sistema is felt in three fundamental circles:

  • in the personal/social circle,

  • in the family circle and in the community.

  • In the personal/social circle,

  • the children in the orchestras and choirs

  • develop their intellectual and emotional side.

  • The music becomes a source

  • for developing the dimensions of the human being,

  • thus elevating the spirit

  • and leading man to a full development of his personality.

  • So, the emotional and intellectual profits are huge --

  • the acquisition of leadership, teaching and training principles,

  • the sense of commitment, responsibility,

  • generosity and dedication to others,

  • and the individual contribution to achieve great collective goals.

  • All this leads to the development of self-esteem and confidence.

  • Mother Teresa of Calcutta

  • insisted on something that always impressed me:

  • the most miserable and tragic thing about poverty

  • is not the lack of bread or roof,

  • but the feeling of being no-one --

  • the feeling of not being anyone,

  • the lack of identification,

  • the lack of public esteem.

  • That's why the child's development

  • in the orchestra and the choir

  • provides him with a noble identity

  • and makes him a role model for his family and community.

  • It makes him a better student at school

  • because it inspires in him a sense of responsibility,

  • perseverance and punctuality that will greatly help him at school.

  • Within the family, the parents' support is unconditional.

  • The child becomes a role model for both his parents,

  • and this is very important for a poor child.

  • Once the child discovers he is important to his family,

  • he begins to seek new ways of improving himself

  • and hopes better for himself and his community.

  • Also, he hopes for social and economic improvements for his own family.

  • All this makes up a constructive and ascending social dynamic.

  • The large majority of our children belong, as I already mentioned,

  • to the most vulnerable strata of the Venezuelan population.

  • That encourages them to embrace new dreams, new goals,

  • and progress in the various opportunities

  • that music has to offer.

  • Finally, in the circle of the community,

  • the orchestras prove to be the creative spaces of culture

  • and sources of exchange and new meanings.

  • The spontaneity music has

  • excludes it as a luxury item and makes it a patrimony of society.

  • It's what makes a child play a violin at home,

  • while his father works in his carpentry.

  • It's what makes a little girl play the clarinet at home,

  • while her mother does the housework.

  • The idea is that the families join with pride and joy

  • in the activities of the orchestras and the choirs

  • that their children belong to.

  • The huge spiritual world that music produces in itself,

  • which also lies within itself,

  • ends up overcoming material poverty.

  • From the minute a child's taught how to play an instrument,

  • he's no longer poor.

  • He becomes a child in progress heading for a professional level,

  • who'll later become a full citizen.

  • Needless to say that music is the number one prevention

  • against prostitution, violence, bad habits,

  • and everything degrading in the life of a child.

  • A few years ago, historian Arnold Toynbee

  • said that the world was suffering a huge spiritual crisis.

  • Not an economic or social crisis, but a spiritual one.

  • I believe that to confront such a crisis,

  • only art and religion can give proper answers to humanity,

  • to mankind's deepest aspirations,

  • and to the historic demands of our times.

  • Education -- the synthesis of wisdom and knowledge --

  • is the means to strive for a more perfect, more aware,

  • more noble and more just society.

  • With passion and enthusiasm we pay profound respects to TED

  • for its outstanding humanism, the scope of its principles,

  • for its open and generous promotion of young values.

  • We hope that TED can contribute in a full and fundamental way

  • to the building of this new era in the teaching of music,

  • in which the social, communal, spiritual and vindicatory aims

  • of the child and the adolescent

  • become a beacon and a goal for a vast social mission.

  • No longer putting society at the service of art,

  • and much less at the services of monopolies of the elite,

  • but instead art at the service of society,

  • at the service of the weakest, at the service of the children,

  • at the service of the sick, at the service of the vulnerable,

  • and at the service of all those who cry for vindication

  • through the spirit of their human condition

  • and the raising up of their dignity.

  • (Music)

  • (Applause)

  • CA: We are going live now to Caracas.

  • We are going live to Caracas

  • to hear Maestro Abreu's TED Prize wish.

  • JA: Here is my TED Prize wish:

  • I wish that you'll help to create and document

  • a special training program

  • for 50 gifted young musicians,

  • passionate about their art and social justice,

  • and dedicated to bringing El Sistema to the United States

  • and other countries.

  • Thank you very much.

  • (Applause)

Chris Anderson: Let's now see the extraordinary speech

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【TED】José Antonio Abreu: The El Sistema music revolution (The El Sistema music revolution | José Antonio Abreu)

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    Zenn posted on 2017/12/03
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