El Sistema Japan welcomed the musicians of the Ensemble Lara Somos, from Venezuela, at Japan’s El Sistema Festival 2018 last month. Ensemble Lara Somos gave a number of presentations, and were joined by Japanese Sistema students in a gala concert conducted by Enluis Montes Olivar at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theater on 1 December.
The Festival was a celebration of the strong relationship between El Sistema Japan and the Venezuelan Sistema, as well as a commemoration of the 80th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Venezuela and Japan. The Japanese Sistema program, which began in 2012, follows the model for social inclusion through music developed over decades in Venezuela. It currently supports núcleos in Soma, Otsuchi, and Komagane, and Tokyo for its White Hands Chorus of children with visual or hearing impairments.
At the gala concert, the Tokyo White Hands Chorus joined with the Ensemble Lara Somos, which also includes young musicians with disabilities, to perform traditional Japanese and Venezuelan songs under the direction of Erika Colón and Kenji Tsuchino. The highly enthusiastic audience in attendance included Japan’s Empress Michiko.
Date Published: 1 January 2019