Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra comes to London and Birmingham

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Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra’s annual Summer Residency comes to London and Birmingham this weekend for the culmination of its 5th edition. 

With over 200 young musicians, aged 10 to 21, and 50 teachers from 19 Sistema and Sistema-inspired ‘social action through music’ programmes in 15 countries, SEYO 2018 is reaching the end of an 11-day run at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (18-28 August 2018) in partnership with Sistema England.

During the residency, the orchestra has been guided by international teachers from Sistema Europe, Chineke! Orchestra and the Conservatoire.

Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra performances

A further 400 children from The Nucleo Project, In Harmony – Telford & Stoke and Sistema England Young Leaders will join Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra for mass performances at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and Birmingham’s Symphony Hall as follows:

The performances will celebrate the legacy of Leonard Bernstein as part of Bernstein at 100, the worldwide celebrations marking what would have been the composer’s 100th birthday. The residency will also champion contemporary composers, including Errollyn Wallen and Wynton Marsalis, whose Violin Concerto will be performed in part by violinist, Nicola Benedetti, during SEYO 2018’s closing performance.

SEYO 2018

The Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra’s Summer Residency (SEYO 2018) is an annual event organised by Sistema Europe, the network of European programmes inspired by ‘El Sistema’, founded 44 years ago in Venezuela by José Antonio Abreu.

Previous editions have taken place in Salzburg (2013), Istanbul (2014), Milan (2015) and Athens (2017).

Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra 2017 violinists in Athens © Angel Ballesteros
Young violinists at SEYO 2017 in Athens © Angel Ballesteros

Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Founder of Sistema England, said:

‘Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is thrilled to welcome young musicians and teachers from Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra 2018 to Birmingham to make music together in our new state-of-the-art Conservatoire building.

‘This magnificent and extraordinary international cultural collaboration proves once again that music has no barriers of language or politics and we are proud to join forces with Symphony Hall in August to give a platform to this unique orchestra that will represent the vital Sistema movement in Europe.’

Gillian Moore CBE, Director of Music at Southbank Centre, said:

‘At Southbank Centre, we share Sistema Europe’s belief that making music changes lives and we are delighted to welcome young musicians from all round Europe and the UK to celebrate, perform and learn together.

‘The music they will play is by composers who share this belief too with their generous and inclusive approach to music, such as Errollyn Wallen, Gustav Holst and, in his centenary year, Leonard Bernstein.

‘The concrete and wood of the newly refurbished Queen Elizabeth Hall will be happily resounding to the sounds of young musicians. This gathering will make a real difference and I’m so very pleased that it will happen here.’

Simi Ambass, Sistema England Young Leader & Youth Producer, said:

‘Through SEYO18, we want to flip the script and give people unforgettable musical experiences through our personal struggles not despite them. Sistema programmes in Europe may face different social situations but we have a strong bond in knowing that we’re with young people who are aiming for something more than what society expects of us.

‘The inspiration we get from our fellow musicians in other countries fires us up with more motivation to push beyond what we believe to be our personal limits. SEYO 2018 in England will build on the successes of previous camps, sharing the spirit of young people who dare to dream.’


Header photo: The Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra 2015 rehearsing in Milan © Marco Caselli Nirmal

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