The World's Youngest Conductor?

He's the product of Venezuela's highly successful El Sistema music programme and he has over 70 musicians in the Youth Orchestra of Nueva Esparta at his beck and call. Yet despite such a prestigious position conductor José Ángel Salazar is working for free - because at 14-years-old, the world's youngest conductor is prohibited from earning a wage under Venezuelan law.


The son of teachers, Salazar was just eight-years-old when he joined the the Venezuelan orchestra system, El Sistima. He became hooked on classical music after his father and grandfather took him to a brass concert. Indeed, such was the profound effect that the music had on him, he dropped out of karate lessons and took up the flute.

He moved to the violin after hearing Schubert for the first time.

Founded by retired economist, politician and musician José Antonio Abreu in 1975, El Sistima is a publicly funded voluntary sector music education programme. It guides Venezuela's 125 youth orchestras and prides itself on providing opportunities for some of the poorest yet musically gifted children in the country.

Salazar has admitted that he finds the prospect of conducting older peers intimidating. However, at such a tender age, there's every chance that Salazar will have matured into a maestro by the time he reaches adulthood.

Watch Salazar conducting Tchaikovsky's Slavonic March below.

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