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Greg Hettmansberger
Madison Magazine, December 2014

The August 11, 2013, concert documented on this Unitel Classica DVD runs the gamut from head-shaking wonder to spine-tingling music making to quite possibly a tear or two.

Eighteen-year-old Jesus Parra directs a scintiallating “Estancia Suite” of Ginastera…[and] when Rattle returns to marshal the forces for the Symphony No. 1 of Gustav Mahler, we begin to understand the depth of what goes on in El Sistema. © 2014 Madison Magazine Read complete review

Ian Lace
MusicWeb International, December 2014

In 1975 José Antonio Abreu founded the beginnings of the National Children’s Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and later the associated White Hands Choir—all with the aim of helping underprivileged children, some living below the poverty line, others handicapped. An amazing tribute to one man’s humanity and imagination and a magnificent concert from very talented young Venezuelans. © 2014 MusicWeb International

Jeremy Nicholas
Gramophone, October 2014


The sight and sound of these youngsters playing this great music with such complete commitment is heartwarming… © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Ian Lace
MusicWeb International, September 2014

The gusto and drive of [the children’s] playing is testimony to their fervour enough greatly to impress Maestro Rattle. They sway with the music; they twist and turn and spin their instruments…They almost dance to Gershwin’s Cuban Overture and Bernstein’s West Side Story Mambo. As for the Stürmisch bewegt movement of Mahler’s ‘Titan’ Symphony, they blast the ceiling in what is a big and hugely exciting climax.

They also take pride in Ginastera’s four movement ballet suite…The music is brash, strongly rhythmic and propulsive.

An amazing concert from very talented young Venezuelans. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Chris Morgan
Scene Magazine, September 2014

The choir poignantly demonstrate that feeling the music is as important as hearing it be sung. Thanks to a thoughtful, rousing program which includes Latin America folk songs as well as choral works by Mozart and British composer John Rutter, viewers will be left with little doubt as to the professionalism and passion of these young musicians in the making. Inspiring stuff. © 2014 Scene Magazine Read complete review

Robert Benson, August 2014

Venezuela’s remarkable Il Sistema program for educating children of all ages in performance art has changed the world of music education. Sir Simon Rattle conducts the Gershwin, Mahler and one of the encores, Radetzky March, in which he comically coaxes the enthusiastic audience when to clap. This is a fascinating program well worth your investigation. © 2014 Read complete review

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