Music today is a part of life; it has truly gotten under our skin. Young people today would not know how to live without it. They take it with them everywhere they go, an extension of their being, their personae, and their identity. It is part of the statement they make as to who they are.
We will often talk about music in this blog, but today we will look specifically at three pearls of innovation where music is a common denominator, and where it has served as an agent that offers answers to social, economic, educational, technological, political, and humanitarian problems.
1. The first time there was a chorus in collaborative crowdsourcing and where all of the people singing in the choir where not in the same place but in their respective virtual spaces, was in 2010 with Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir – ‘Lux Aurumque’ (Light and Gold). It took 4 months for conductor Whitacre to make the most of the technology and use this newfound connectivity to bring together 185 singers from 12 countries.
2. The innovative project by José Antonio Abreu and the Venezuela Youth Orchestra, which–step by step–has gone from a local social and educational project to reach levels of excellence in students who are populating the orchestras of the entire planet with excellent conductors and musicians from this fountain of young talent. Since its creation, over 300,000 young musicians have received musical training, leaving behind a world of misery and embracing their passion for an instrument and the music it produces. Today, the same model is being introduced in many more countries. Among others, I leave you with their concert in Russia, where in 2010 they decided to apply the model to carry out massive musical training among young Russian performers.
In this video, Gustavo Dudamel, who has dazzled us in various Spanish cities with his conduction, plays Tchaikovski and Berstein’s Mambo (a fragment of the Mambo in the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story). This Mambo is now famous around the world because it has served as an example of disruptive innovation. What is innovative in Dudamiel is that he has managed to make instruments dance; yes, that’s right: the instruments dance to the beat of the music, bringing about a surprising and disruptive effect. Musicians also dance, but what is different is how they make the instruments dance with a great sense of humor while maintaining their professionalism. We feel a rush of joy and a desire to get up and dance as we listen, going to show that you can innovate by doing the same thing, only in different ways.
3. Daniel Barenboim’s (Argentine of Jewish origin who is currently conducting the Berlin Orchestra) and his friend Edward Said’s (Palestine intellectual who passed away in 2003) project for coexistence through music to unite Jewish and Arab peoples. The West-Eastern Divan is a bridge built with music where young Lebanese, Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian musicians were brought together in a workshop. For this they won the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord in 2002. The name West-Eastern Divan comes from a 1819 collection of poems by Goethe, one of the first Europeans to show an interest in other cultures, using poetry and metaphors to show that a dialogue is possible, given that human values are common to all and Universal.
This is exactly the intention of WEDO Foundation: to create a permanent dialogue through music. The foundation was created in 2002 with that goal in mind, and the orchestra was set up in Seville, training young musicians in Seville, Ramala and Berlin.
“WEDO is not an orchestra for peace, it is a project that proves it is possible to live together and understand each other when everyone has the same rights and responsibilities. In WEDO, the Universal metaphorical language that is music makes up a bond that brings together all of these young people within a language of constant dialogue. The dialogue between intellect and emotions can help to moderate an excessively rigid religious position”
In August 2011, they gave a concert in the demilitarized zone in the Gaza Strip, in which they played Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. We will continue to talk about this project because there are many lessons to be learned regarding the organization of projects for innovation.
Ana María llopis