Children’s orchestra takes stage for peace

Children’s orchestra takes stage for peace

Children’s orchestra takes stage for peace

The children’s performance at İş Sanat was appraised by orchestra conductors and musicians.

A project titled “El Sistema,” which was initiated 35 years ago by Venezuelan economist and amateur musician Jose Antonio Abreu, began by gathering 11 children in a garage to make music. Today, it provides music education for 300,000 children. The project has become a source of inspiration in many countries, including Turkey. The program has turned into a system that includes more than 350,000 children, 150 youth, 70 children’s and 30 symphony orchestras.

One of them is Turkey’s “Music for Peace Foundation,” which was founded in 2005 with the efforts of architect Mehmet Baki with the help of his academic wife Yeliz Baki. Mehmet Baki left his profession and devoted his life to the music education of poor children.

Baki’s adventure started in the coalbunker of a school in Edirnekapı Ulubatlı Hasan Primary School and turned into a great movement, where 4,000 children receive education and 1,200 instruments were given complimentarily.

Speaking to daily Milliyet, Baki explained how he had decided to start such a project without any knowledge of music, saying, “I don’t have any music education, but I have passion for music. Peace and justice are ideologies behind this work. Music is one of the best tools to popularize this ideology.”


The founder of the orchestra, Mehmet Baki,
speaks at the concert.

Concert at İş Sanat

The foundation’s orchestra “Music for Peace,” which includes 110 children between the ages of seven and 14, performed at Istanbul’s İş Sanat on April 21. The orchestra drew great interest from audiences, which was Baki’s dream over the last 10 years.

During the concert, 110 members of the orchestra were on stage with their violins, violas, pianos, percussion, contrabasses, clarinets, trombones, trumpets and French horns, daily Milliyet reported yesterday.

Thanks to the education provided with the support of the Music for Peace Foundation, the children’s performance was appraised by orchestra conductors, musicians and others among the viewers.

Without outside support, 1,200 instruments have so far been provided for the orchestra.

In 2011, the Music for Peace Foundation crossed paths with the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), which is organizing the El Sistema concerts in Istanbul. The founder of El Sistema, Abreu visited the center of the Music for Peace Foundation in Edirnekapı and met with children.

İKSV support

Since 2013, the İKSV has been the institutional supporter and its Lale Card program has been the educational supporter of the foundation. At a speech before the concert, İKSV President Bülent Eczacıbaşı said, “As the İKSV, we want to help young people reach arts and take the initiative for their education. Our cooperation with the Music for Peace Foundation, which boosts our trust in the future of our country, brings us happiness.”

The orchestra conductor Campo said the children in the orchestra were very talented and each was from a different social structure. “We performed a study through the Internet. All of the children are very successful. They did a great job in the concert. They are free on the stage. They danced while paying their instruments,” he said.