El Sistema 40 - A Celebration

Classic FM Album of the Week, 16 February 2015.

Today, there are dozens of professional orchestras in Venezuela, filled with graduates from the country's remarkable El Sistema music education programme. Hundreds of centres around the country provide musical training and social care to hundreds of thousands of youngsters, the majority of them from families living below the poverty line.

El sistema - everything you need to know >

This album celebrates the phenomenon of El Sistema forty years on with a colourful collection of recordings by the most prominent of the El Sistema graduates including Gustavo Dudamel.

As might be expected, high-energy percussion is very much to the fore, with a fizzing Mambo from West Side Story, Marquez's popular Danzon No.2, and Latin American classics from Ginastera and Revueltas. 

But these young musicians can also handle Dvorak and Tchaikovsky equally well, and do a stirring job with Beethoven's Eroica and his Symphony No.7.

Exclusive: Gustavo Dudamel answers your questions >