Caracas, September 15, 2020.- Inspiring the world to build a better future together through the transformative power of Venezuelan youth and the universal language of music were the objectives highlighted during the award ceremony for young composers of El Sistema, the National System of Youth and Children´s Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela, winners of the contest “Composing your Future“.
Launched in May by the United Nations and El Sistema to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN, the contest invited young members of El Sistema between the ages of 18 and 30 to compose a piece in the symphonic and symphonic-choral genre, inspired by the central theme “The Future We Want”.
The recipients of the awards were three young composers of great talent from the cities of Barquisimeto, Upata and Los Teques who inspired the jury with their proposals: Julio Landaeta, winner of the first place with the work “Laberinto Encantado”; Fernando Rivas, second place with the work “Epifanías del cataclismo” and Jorge Díaz, third place with the work “Amalivaca”.
The jury, comprising Peter Grohmann, Resident Coordinator of the UN in Venezuela, Eduardo Méndez, Executive Director of “El Sistema”, and world-renowned maestros Lourdes Sánchez, Alfredo Rugeles, Pablo Castellanos, Orlando Cardozo and Rodolfo Saglimbeni, reviewed a total of 32 musical proposals from all regions of the country, taking into account factors such as orchestration, organology, discourse, textures, writing, theme and the general vision of each work.
“We are convinced of the power of the universal language of music to inspire and call for collective action to build more inclusive, peaceful and resilient societies, with gender equality, that protect the planet and accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals,” said UN Resident Coordinator Peter Grohmann during the awards ceremony.
“We join the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, with whom we have carried out the initiative Composing your Future to encourage the young musicians of El Sistema to create new music that will serve as motivation and inspiration to advance towards a better future“, said Eduardo Méndez, Executive Director of El Sistema.
During the virtual award ceremony certificates were delivered to the winners, accompanied by a symbolic prize amounting to US$1,000 for the first place, US$500 for the second and US$300 for the third.
Lourdes Sánchez, director of the Simón Bolívar National Choir and jury member in the contest, moderated an online conversation with the winners, the United Nations, El Sistema and the public to talk about the messages that inspired the works, and the challenge of realizing this musical and artistic project in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The event also featured a video recognizing the participation of 32 young composers who were inspired by the hope of achieving a better future, dedication and perseverance, education, love, faith, humanity, human rights, solidarity, equal opportunities for all and the right of children to live a happy life.
Bringing the winning work to life
The participants discussed the ambitious project of bringing the winning piece to life, an unpublished composition that was performed by 65 young musicians from the Simón Bolívar 45th Anniversary Orchestra, in accordance with the rules of distance to prevent COVID-19. This task was made possible thanks to the world-class pedagogical, artistic and professional team of El Sistema, who also benefitted from the collaboration of recognized professionals such as a team of sound and editing engineers who have worked with institutions such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Hollywood Bowl.
The winning piece will be promoted by the United Nations´ global and national networks and channels during the communication activities surrounding the commemoration of the 75th anniversary, which begin next Monday, September 21. In addition, it will be part of the artistic works published on the UN75 platform together with Google Arts & Culture, to be launched on October 24, United Nations Day.
“We are pleased to pay tribute to the winners of the contest today, and to recognize the participation of all the young musicians who answered the call, who today inspire us with their messages and music to build a better future. We celebrate with El Sistema the culmination of this initiative, highlighting the joint work to promote the rights and development of Venezuelan children and youth,” concluded UN Resident Coordinator Peter Grohmann.
The UN and “El Sistema” have a longstanding partnership in promoting social inclusion, peace and the resilience of children and youth in Venezuela. Among other initiatives, “El Sistema” is a Champion of Sustainable Human Development of UNDP and a National Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF in Venezuela.
More than one million children and youth are part of “El Sistema”, set up through 443 centers and 1704 modules throughout the country in urban and rural areas of Venezuela.
Artistic review of the winning works based on the messages of their authors
Third place “Amalivaca”
The third place was awarded to the work Amalivaca by the composer Jorge Díaz, 26 years old, born in the city of Los Teques in the state of Miranda. It is a symphonic-choral work that begins with a powerful orchestral tutti leading to the mystical ambience of the central part. Different Various timbres are gradually added to the melody, reaching a peak before returning to the initial theme. This composition is influenced by various musical techniques of the 20th century from which the composer develops a language of his own. Its captivating sonority seeks to render an idea of overall beauty with overtones of concern. It is both sublime and terrible without losing its beauty. It expresses a contradiction that complements itself perfectly with the simplicity and originality of the myth of Amalivaca, father of men, of the Caribs and the Tamanacos.
Second place “Epiphanies of the Cataclysm”
Epiphanies of the Cataclysm was composed by the 18-year old Fernando Rivas, one of the youngest participants in the contest. Born in Ciudad Bolivar and raised in the city of Upata, State of Bolivar, Fernando is the winner of the second place. In his work, the composer expresses collective suffering and desperation at the onset with very quick notes referring to the great tragedies that have occurred worldwide and generating a sense of tension. Then the fast notes increase through the involvement of percussions, brass and finally strings creating a storm-like atmosphere. Afterwards, a bell effect emerges from the whole orchestra, from a pianissimo to a super crescendo that cuts through the solemnity and confusion. It is a chorale of brass and strings that ends in a song of glory through the harps and expresses the tranquility that follows in the wake of a great event, evoking hope and the superseding of conflict.
First place “The Enchanted Labyrinth”
The 24-year old Julio Landaeta from the city of Barquisimeto, state of Lara, won first place with his work “The Enchanted Labyrinth”. The work begins with a melodious introduction leading to a counterpoint of several instrumental lines in different tones, representing obstacles and everyday realities. Tensions are maintained with special emphasis on the brass sections and particularly the tessitura of the French horn. Later, with an impressionist style based on the tonality and forms of contemporary 20th century composition, the composer finds a way out whereby the music offers a sense of victory and strength that unites and encourages to persevere as if in an enchanted labyrinth.
Follow the latest on Composing your Future:
- El Sistema: https://fundamusical.org.ve/ @elsistema
● ONU: http://onu.org.ve/ @onuvenezuela
● UNDP: https://www.ve.undp.org/ @PNUD_Venezuela
● UNICEF: https://www.unicef.org/venezuela/ @unicefvenezuela
United Nations in Venezuela: Carmen Morales, Carmen.email@example.com +58 412 332 6278