El Sistema Greece at II Congreso Mundial El Sistema

El Sistema Greece’s exciting trip to Caracas, Venezuela, for the II Congreso Mundial El Sistema has come to an end and this event marked an important milestone for us, as we found ourselves in the place where El Sistema was created and which continues to inspire us to this day. The II Congreso Mundial was the first live World Congress hosted at the headquarters of the National Centre for Social Action for Music.

A journey of inspiration and music

Bringing together musical programs from around the world, each inspired by the principles of El Sistema, this congress was a vibrant celebration of music, education and social change. With an agenda of diverse activities, these days embodied the essence of what Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu envisioned.

As part of this, members of our team traveled to the birthplace of El Sistema, and specifically at the conference were El Sistema Greece co-founder Elisa Sologni, General Manager Angeliki Georgokosta and Music Teacher Giannis Ismirnioglou. 

Our wonderful students

Our trip was even more special by the presence of four of our students, Stavroula Kamakari and Eleni Vassiliou, members of the El Sistema Greece Youth Choir, as well as Alessio Hyka (French horn) and Christos Kotini (Percussion), members of the El Sistema Greece Youth Orchestra. Our musicians actively participated in the rehearsals and major concerts held during these important days, and shared the stage with musicians from Sistema programs around the world as members of the World Orchestra and World Choir that were created.

See what our students shared about their unforgettable experience at the II Congreso Mundial El Sistema:

Alessio Hyka – French Horn/Member of El Sistema Greece Youth Orchestra 

This trip was an experience of a lifetime. It was something you only experience once. I met many people from different countries, we shared our musical knowledge and I can say that I even bonded with some of them. I am also especially happy that I was able to meet the world-famous Berlin Philharmonic cornetist Sarah Willis and that I was able to share the stage with her. The people there treated us with kindness and welcomed us. Maybe most of them didn’t know English and we didn’t know Spanish, but we managed to communicate through the language of music, a universal language that everyone knows and loves. We also had the opportunity to see the city as we visited some very important sites and places such as El Hatillo, the National Gallery and El Avila. It was an experience I will always remember and now I can say that Venezuela has a special place in my heart.

Stavroula Kamakari – Choir / Member of El Sistema Greece Youth Choir

It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life! 18 days with lots of music, young talented musicians and unforgettable images. We attended many concerts but my two favorites were the one with the participation of the Simon Bolivar Orchestra and Choir and another with the participation of the Manos Blancas Choir. In our free time we visited beautiful places such as the village of El Hatillo with its colorful picturesque houses, as well as the mountain “El Ávila”. My favorite moment of the whole trip was when we did the first choir and orchestra rehearsal together. Then I felt that I am a member of the global el sistema family. I want to thank el sistema Greece for giving me this opportunity, my teachers in Greece and Venezuela and finally and best of all, my family! I wish every child to have a similar experience!

Christos Kotinis – Percussion/Member of El Sistema Greece Youth Orchestra 

From now on, when I hear the word Venezuela, my mind will travel for hours. So many experiences, so many acquaintances, so much music. So I understood that language gives priority to the ‘language of music’ as a means of communication. From the first rehearsal to the genneral, I was more than happy. And at the concerts I was nervous and concentrated. After the concerts I could not hold back my tears because of the emotions inside me. This trip was my first musical journey and I hope it will be the beginning of many such experiences. Everything was wonderful both the choir that performed songs from different countries , and the orchestra that managed to translate the emotion into sound. As for the percussion group they were more than family to me during my stay there. The legacy of conductor Abreu is immense and the continuators are well worthy. I feel blessed and fortunate to have been a part of this event. I thank El Sistema Greece for this opportunity that they have given me.
And remember : Tocar, cantar y lucar.”

Eleni Vassiliou – Choir / Member of El Sistema Greece Youth Choir

After returning to Greece from the trip that El Sistema offered me in Venezuela, my main feeling is gratitude. I was lucky enough to rehearse with excellent musicians from Venezuela and many other parts of the world, to attend many concerts with my favorite Coro de Manos Blancas and to attend a ballet performance. We visited various places of culture and sightseeing. Caracas is considered a dangerous city and this limited our outings because we had to go to certain places and with an escort. Something that made it very difficult for me was the language because there were not many people comfortable in English and I don’t know their basic language of communication which is Spanish. However, I met a lot of people and made new friends from different parts of the world. It was undoubtedly a unique experience that I would definitely like to have again.

Watch the concert:

Our partnership with El Sistema has held significant importance for us ever since the inception of El Sistema Greece, and the II Congreso Mundial has only strengthened the bonds that connect us further. All these days gave all our participants a sense of unity and connection, so that we truly felt like members of a global musical community. This trip served as a testament to the power of music to bring people together, fostering collaboration and creativity that will undoubtedly continue after the conference is over.