Violinist Nicola Benedetti is to visit the Venezuelan home of El Sistema this summer to work with the world-famous Simón Bolívar Orchestra.
Nicola is also on a quest to find a “Maestro” to help her replicate the Venezuelans’ success in the UK.
During her trip in July she will perform with the Simón Bolívar Orchestra in Caracas' main symphony hall, and give masterclasses and individual lessons to children in the El Sistema programme.
The Venezuelan visit caps a year in which Nicola has become increasingly involved with a Scottish orchestra aiming to repeat the El Sistema miracle. She began working with the Big Noise orchestra in Raploch, Stirling as a “Musical Big Sister” and visiting mentor - giving masterclasses, individual lessons and working alongside the string teachers. Now she has joined the board of the charity behind Big Noise – Sistema Scotland – and is spearheading efforts to find a Maestro to push its work to even greater heights.
Page 1 of 3Sistema Scotland Mail -Press Release -Nicola Benedetti to visit Venezuela to work ...
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“El Sistema is one of the most exciting things happening in music today,” said Nicola,”so I am thrilled to be engaging with its most advanced graduates in Venezuela while also helping the children at the start of the process back home in Scotland.”
“The children I have taught in Raploch really are hugely talented, and I don’t say that lightly. I believe they have enormous potential. It is phenomenal to walk round the estate and see all these children carrying instrument cases and talking about their orchestra. It is very moving for someone like me. I have always dreamed of our communities experiencing the infectious joy of playing music together.”
“We are now looking for someone who can give support and vision to Sistema Scotland as Director of Music.”
“Big Noise has social aims and is open to every child in the community. Sistema Scotland is determined to give these children the best musical education possible. There is a wonderful team of musicians teaching in Raploch already, and the response from the children has been brilliant.”
“The teachers and the community recognise how these children are shining, and being nurtured every day by the musical environment they now live in.”
Sistema Scotland has been stepping up the musical intelligence of its board. Aside from Nicola, another recent appointee is Fergus McWilliam, who plays horn with the Berlin Philharmonic. The children also have an ongoing relationship with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
“Its quite remarkable to think that a community such as Raploch with no tradition of serious music making until three years ago, is now plugged in not just to the Simón Bolívar Orchestra of Venezuela, and the BBC SSO - but also the Berlin Philharmonic,” said Nicola.
Big Noise works with over 300 children - representing some 80% of those attending nursery and primary school in the estate.
A recently published evaluation commissioned by the Scottish Government shows that Big Noise is beginning to transform the community.
Summary findings can be viewed at:



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