The European Union’s Culture Programme has pledged €200,000 to an exchange scheme between Sistema projects in Europe and Canada. The newly formed SMEEC programme – Sistema-inspired Music Education and Exchange with Canada – will enable 2,000 young English, Italian and Canadian musicians, aged between nine and sixteen, to perform and rehearse together in choirs and orchestras during 2014 and 2015.
‘Music knows no boundaries of language or culture,’ said Julian Lloyd Webber, founder of In Harmony and chair of Sistema England. ‘SMEEC will give these children the opportunity to discover, through the common language of music and the shared social, educational and musical values of Sistema-inspired programmes, the similarities and differences in our respective cultures.’
The programme will include up to 50 joint concerts, including large-scale performances featuring up to 500 young performers. There will also be opportunities for professional musicians to play alongside students, and a new commission designed for youth music ensembles.
SMEEC will bring together Sistema England, Sistema Italia, The Leading Note Foundation’s OrKidstra programme in Ottawa, and Sistema Toronto Playing to Potential – each based upon José Antonio Abreu’s socially transformative Venezuelan network of youth orchestras from which the name ‘The System’ is derived.