The members of the Venezuela Percussion Ensemble, a product of the El Sistema social and music education programme, visited two of the schools where the In Harmony Lambeth project is delivered, and conducted percussion demonstrations for more than 300 children. Scroll down for a video and more photos.
The Venezuela Percussion Ensemble have been described by Maestro José Antonio Abreu, the founder of El Sistema, as “one of the most brilliant ensembles that are part of Venezuela's national system of children and youth orchestras". The young musicians visited England as part of a concert tour that also included Ireland, Scotland and Sweden. In London they performed in the Royal College of Music and the Bolívar Hall.
The ensemble visited St Stephen’s CofE and Herbert Morrison Primary in Vauxhall. They introduced the students to Venezuelan folk rhythms of African origin, and performed "golpes" with Culo'e puya and San Millán drums. They also invited some of the children to play with them. The demonstration was conducted by Víctor Villarroel, one of the seven members of the ensemble.
The Venezuela Percussion Ensemble includes musicians from the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra.
Julian Lloyd Webber, the founder of the In Harmony programme funded by the Department of Education and Arts Council England, and chairman of the In Harmony • Sistema England charity that supports the projects, expressed his gratituted to El Sistema and the ensemble for sharing their knowledge with the children of South London.
"This is the first of several exchange acitivites with the Venezuelans that we are organising in the charity, and that will no doubt benefit our mission of securing the long term delivery and expansion of the In Harmony programme, inspired by the values, principles and methodology of El Sistema", said Lloyd Webber.