Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra makes its Canadian debut during the Glenn Gould Foundation's weeklong Celebration of Music



    TORONTO, July 29 /CNW/ - Called "the most successful youth music project
in the world," and "awe inspiring," Venezuela's Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra
will make its Canadian debut conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, the wunderkind
maestro honoured by Time Magazine as one of its '100 Most Influential People
of 2009' on October 26, 2009 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing
Arts in Toronto. The event kicks off The Glenn Gould Foundation's weeklong
Celebration of Music, and residency by the orchestra in Toronto; created to
honour the Eighth Glenn Gould Prize Laureate, Dr. José Antonio Abreu, founder
of Venezuela's famed system of music education, El Sistema.
    The Glenn Gould Prize, Canada's most exclusive arts award, will be
bestowed on Dr. Abreu in recognition of his exceptional lifelong contribution
to music communication and cultural humanitarianism. The gala evening will
feature an extraordinary musical programme performed by the 250-member
orchestra itself and special guests. At that time Dr. Abreu will also award
The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize to Maestro Dudamel, representing
all members of El Sistema.
    "This extraordinary week of music is a gift from Dr. Abreu to the
citizens of Canada," said Glenn Morley, President of The Glenn Gould
Foundation. "His incredible vision for a society that uses music to give all
its citizens an opportunity to thrive is a model for us all. We are thrilled
and honoured to introduce him to Canadians and bestow upon him the
well-deserved Glenn Gould Prize in front of the orchestra that embodies the
realization of his hard work and commitment."
    The Glenn Gould Foundation is mounting this ambitious project in the hope
that Dr. Abreu's example and success of his movement will inspire Canadian
policymakers, parents and youth to embrace the principles of El Sistema and
ensure that music and arts education are integral to every young person's
upbringing. To that end, the Foundation is sponsoring the production of a
teacher's study guide about El Sistema that will be made available to schools
across Canada.
    The week's events include high school tours, a performance for over
13,000 students from across Ontario, a Music Education Symposium, a
performance of the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble, comprised of star players from
the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra and community outreach events designed to
reach at-risk youth through music.

    The schedule of events is as follows:

    Monday, October 26

    Glenn Gould Prize Gala
    Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
    8 p.m.
    Featuring Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel
    Attended by Dr. José Antonio Abreu

    Tuesday, October 27

    High School Tour and Performances
    Q&A with members of the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela
    Various High Schools throughout Toronto

    Community Outreach Tour
    Q&A with members of the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela
    Community agencies that serve at-risk youth with music education

    Integral House Reception
    Exclusive reception at Toronto architectural landmark Integral House
    Introducing community leaders to the idea of El Sistema

    Wednesday, October 28

    The Promise of Music Symposium Day co-presented by The Glenn Gould
    Foundation and The Royal Conservatory of Music in Association with The
    SOCAN Foundation
    Telus Centre at The Royal Conservatory of Music
    All day
    Keynote speaker: Dr. José Antonio Abreu

    Open rehearsal with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela
    For a student audience
    Details to follow

    Venezuelan Brass Ensemble
    60-member all-star virtuosos brass ensemble
    Koerner Hall at The Royal Conservatory of Music
    8 p.m.

    Thursday, October 29

    Youth Concert for over 13,000 students from across Ontario
    Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela
    Air Canada Centre
    12:00 p.m.

    Tickets to the Glenn Gould Prize Gala and concert by the Simon Bolivar
    Youth Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel are on sale now through the
    Four Seasons Centre box office at or to order by phone
    (416) 363-8231.

    One of the week's highlights - The Promise of Music is a day of ideas,
symposia and round tables that will see international experts, educators,
scientists, economists, social theorists and musical professionals make
presentations and create a dialogue focused on the impacts and implications of
music education. Some of the topics include early childhood development, the
latest discoveries in neuroplasticity, socialization and creativity; youth
crime prevention and diversion; economic competitiveness and building a
creative community of the future; potential of music education for aboriginal
communities; charter education, social inclusiveness, youth engagement
promotion of democratic and social participation and music as a source of
social cohesion; and the Canadian potential of El Sistema.
    On October 29, over 13,000 elementary, and secondary students will enjoy
a concert performed by the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela at the
Air Canada Centre. Students from as far away as Ottawa and Sudbury have
confirmed attendance.
    El Sistema, officially Fundación del Estado para el Sistema Nacional de
las Orquestas Juveniles e Infantiles de Venezuela, (FESNOJIV), founded by Dr.
Abreu, is Venezuela's national system of free music education bringing the
transformative power of music and learning to children. Targeting at-risk
youth from ages two to 20, over 1 million children have been transformed by El
Sistema. Over the past 34 years, Dr. Abreu has navigated the program through
eight different administrations, flourishing under myriad political agendas.
Combining political shrewdness with religious devotion, Abreu has dedicated
himself to a utopian dream in which an orchestra represents the ideal society
- "the only community that comes together with the fundamental objective of
agreeing with itself" - and the sooner a child is nurtured in that environment
the better for all.
    He has received numerous recognitions for his pioneering work in music,
most recently the prestigious Polar Music Prize, given by the Royal Swedish
Academy of Music. The section committee said the following upon announcement,
"José Antonio Abreu's successful creation has promoted traditional values,
like respect, fellowship and humanity. His achievement shows us what is
possible when music is made the common ground and thereby part of people's
everyday lives. Simultaneously, a new hope for the future has been given
children and parents, as well as politicians. The vision of José Antonio Abreu
serves as a model to us all."
    El Sistema has been adopted in 20 countries including the United States,
Great Britain and Scotland.
    Dr. Abreu and El Sistema have been featured on CBS 60 Minutes, CNN, The
New York Times, Time of London, The Independent, The Economist, The Washington
Post and The Guardian among others. The orchestra has been ranked one of the
top five orchestras in the world by the Times of London and its dynamic and
unconventional performing style has caused a sensation among audiences
wherever it has appeared, from Carnegie Hall to Beijing.

    The Glenn Gould Foundation gratefully acknowledges the support of its
sponsors for making this week possible:

    Presenting Sponsor of the Glenn Gould Celebration of Music Week: Power
    Corporation of Canada, Investors Group, Great-West Life, London Life,
    Canada Life, Mackenzie Investments
    Gala Concert Sponsor: The Bay
    Youth Concert at the Air Canada Centre: Rogers Communication
    Community Outreach Sponsor: Ada Slaight
    The Promise of Music Sponsors: The SOCAN Foundation and RBC Financial
    Official Hotel: The Westin Harbour Castle
    Musical Instrument Sponsor: Yamaha
    FESNOJIV Sponsor: Hilti Foundation (Liechtenstein)
    Design and Print Sponsor: Sutton Communications

    The Glenn Gould Foundation thanks Dr. James Stewart for making Integral
House available.

    The Glenn Gould Foundation also acknowledges the generous co-operation of
the Four Seasons Centre - Canadian Opera Company - Alexander Neef, General

    About The Glenn Gould Foundation

    The Glenn Gould Foundation is a registered charitable organization whose
mission is to pay tribute to the legacy of Glenn Gould by embracing the
future, celebrating brilliance, unlocking creativity and transforming lives
through the power of music and art. Established in 1983 in Toronto, the
Foundation awards the prestigious Glenn Gould Prize and The City of Toronto
Glenn Gould Protégé Prize once every three years. Laureates of the prize are
among the most distinguished artists of our time and are charged with
selecting the recipient of The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize,
which is awarded to an outstanding young musician with the promise of an
exceptional lifetime contribution to the art. The Glenn Gould Foundation
(Inc.) was established in 2009 in the United States, with a parallel mission.
For more information about The Glenn Gould Foundation and to support its
mission, please visit

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Naomi Strasser or Stephen
Shinn, Aerial Communications Group, (416) 787-6577,,

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