Breaking News: Venezuelan Sistema Orchestra is shuttered

Word was received yesterday from a trusted source that the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra, the No. 2 symphonic ensemble of the Fundacíon Musical Símon Bolívar of Venezuela (also known internationally as el Sistema) has been or will shortly be disbanded. The official euphemism of choice in this instance is “merged”, with the other partner in … Continue reading Breaking News: Venezuelan Sistema Orchestra is shuttered

Knowing what counts

I’ve stopped counting how many Sistema programs I’ve visited. There have been many, many, many, but I don’t see much point in attempting to enumerate them.  I've found that passing visits rarely if ever offer enough information to draw any real conclusions about what happens between the walls, if not for reasons of time constraints, … Continue reading Knowing what counts

From Apostle to Apostate

It’s difficult to imagine today, but there was a time when the Venezuelan Bolívar was a benchmark currency within South America. There was a time when Air France offered supersonic Concorde service between Paris and Caracas, when the Hotel Humboldt perched on the mountain above the capital city was symbol of the nation’s vitality and … Continue reading From Apostle to Apostate

When beauty pageants, human rights, and music collide

It’s likely that, were it not for some controversy, the most recent Miss USA spectacle would have passed largely unnoticed, as befits an outdated and sexist institution that ironically claims to be progressive and feminist (because seeing a woman in a swimsuit is apparently an essential way to gauge her intellectual capacities). But the competition … Continue reading When beauty pageants, human rights, and music collide