At Salzburg Festival, Venezuela’s Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra delivers the biggest audience hit of the summer 2008. Rarely has an orchestra reached out and grabbed its audience in such a visceral manner; and even more rarely has such a feat been accomplished by an orchestra of youngsters between the ages of 12 and 26!The Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, the Salzburg Festival’s resident orchestra of 2008, is a product of the "Sistema de Orquestas" set up to allow children of all social levels to learn a musical instrument and play in an ensemble.
Today, 250,000 youths are learning from 15,000 instructors and playing in over 120 youth orchestras and nearly 60 children’s orchestras. Some of the Sistema’s finest players were picked to form the S.B.Y.O. and to work in Salzburg with such outstanding musicians as Martha Argerich, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon. Documenting their activity there is the program "School of Listening
" featuring works by Beethoven and Mahler.