The famous Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra (as it was originally known) from Venezuela, became a symbol of everything "El Sistema". It was their pinnacle orchestra and the pride of their country.
We thought about that at the Symphony For Life Foundation... How many years would it take to develop such an orchestra made up from the students of the Symphony For Life programs - 5, 10 years? Probably. So we decided to do something a little different, and with a particular purpose or mission in mind: to create a demonstration youth orchestra made up of the collective of Symphony For Life Foundation teaching artists, and capable young musicians from the Symphony For Life programs as they developed into fine musicians.
We realised that there is going to be a very small few to start off with, so we have decided we will also recruit wonderful young musicians from the conservatoriums and music schools around Australia to work together with the teachers and rising stars, to build a big and wonderful youth orchestra together.
We envisage this as a sessionally paid orchestra, with rehearsals and concerts four times per year, and an engagement at the annual Symphony For Life Music Camps each year to work with the children and entertaining in public concerts.
All members of the Symphony For Life Orchestra will be encouraged (if not already doing so) to train to become teaching artists and music tutors within the Foundation - so we see this also as a training orchestra, as well as a practicing professional youth orchestra.
Professional visiting and Australian artists will be encouraged and invited to play with the Symphony For Life Orchestra, as guest conductors, as concerto soloists, and generally within the ensemble.
It will be a touring orchestra as well, and in time represent our Foundation as the flagship both here in Australia and overseas.
It will be supported as a fully functioning social enterprise, generating its own income as well as receiving a fee-for-service subsidy from the Symphony For Life Foundation. In this way it will serve as a fully functioning 'semi-commercial' orchestra, the net profits of which will go back to the Symphony For Life Foundation.
We hope this will be a way we can benefit not only the Foundation but also young musicians across Australia looking to start their musical career and also be engaged in a positive social benefit to Australian communities!
Social Action through music!
Following on from the successful piloting of Australia's first El Sistema-based social action music education program for children living in disadvantaged communities - via Sistema Australia - we have created the Symphony For Life Foundation.