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In Harmony Sistema England, chaired by Julian Lloyd Webber, is forging official links with the Venezuelan El Sistema project.
Children in England and Venezuela are soon to work together in a series of music-making projects, spearheaded by two national music programmes, In Harmony and El Sistema. Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber founded the In Harmony project after being inspired by the El Sistema in Venezuela, and now both projects are planning to work together.
The links between the two schemes were forged last February when representatives from In Harmony's local projects in London, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Telford, members of Sistema in Norwich, Arts Council England and the Southbank Centre visited Venezuela. Shared initiatives will include a percussion ensemble made up of both English and Venezuelan children, formed through a series of collaborations over the next six years.
Speaking at the screening of 'Transposing El Sistema', a short film documenting the visit to Venezuela, Lloyd Webber said: "Music is a wonderful way of bringing people together, working together on something that's bigger than them individually and creating something special. It's not competitive, it has no boundaries of race, or language, or background - you're just playing an instrument."
El Sistema was founded in 1975 to transform young people's lives through community-based music. The project's success stories include the launch of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.