Venezuela says it achieves a Guinness record for the world’s largest orchestra

File image of musicians from the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras performing music as part of their efforts to break the Guinness World Record for the largest orchestra in the world, in Caracas, Venezuela. November 13, 2021. REUTERS / Leonardo Fernandez Viloria

CARACAS, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Venezuelan government officials said on Saturday they had set the Guinness record for the world’s largest orchestra with more than 12,000 “El Sistema” musicians.

The National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras, known as “El Sistema”, is a music education program created in the 1970s by the late and acclaimed Venezuelan musician José Antonio Abreu.

In honor of Abreu, more than 12,000 children and young musicians from El Sistema met on November 13 in Caracas in an attempt to break the record, which since 2019 and until now had a group of 8,097 musicians who played together in Saint Petersburg.

The Minister of Information, Freddy Ñáñez, and the Russian ambassador in Caracas, Sergey Mélik-Bagdasárov, congratulated the musicians on Saturday in an act broadcast on state television.

The television station aired an announcement in which Susana Reyes, an expert from Guinness World Records (GWR), announced that the Venezuelan musicians’ attempt had been successful when they performed a classical piece for more than five minutes, in this case La Marcha Eslava de Piotr Tchaikovsky.

Guinness did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

With a network of 180 orchestras of about 350,000 young people and children, the System has become a springboard for Venezuelan musicians to the world, as is the case of Gustavo Dudamel, current musical director of the Paris Opera and the Los Angeles Philharmonic , who was trained in the Venezuelan program.

(Reporting by Vivian Sequera and Deisy Buitrago. Mayela Armas edition.)

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