Music for peace: this is the commitment of the Philharmonic in the schools of Bogotá

Luc Williams

To the rhythm of flutes, clarinets, violins, trumpets, harps and tubas, thousands of children and young people from the towns of Bogotá found a new purpose in life in music. With the creation of the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra System, in 2013, public schools in the district joined one of the most ambitious musical training programs on the continent. Its general director, David García, assures that what has been achieved is “a model in Latin America.” So far, 250,000 children and young people have received musical training: 2,300 students started and this year 30,000 are going.

How do you see the Orchestra System after a decade in operation?

David García (DG): Ten years ago we began the transformation of the Bogotá Philharmonic: we went from an orchestra to a training system and a network of orchestras, choirs and wind bands. Thanks to the support of the Mayor’s Office, we have strengthened ourselves to provide comprehensive training in arts such as music to young people who previously did not have access to this type of education.

What has been the impact of the program?

DG: According to evaluations carried out by the universities of Los Andes and Javeriana, the musical education provided by the Philharmonic has contributed significantly to improving the cognitive skills of children and adolescents in Bogotá, developing their IQ, motor skills and social and collective sensitivity.

After graduating from school, do young people continue with their musical training?

DG: Many of those who trained in the Orchestra System have chosen music as a life option and are developing their studies in the conservatories of universities such as the National, the District or the Pedagogical. We can say with pride and conviction that our training program is the highest quality academic musical offer for schools that exists in Colombia.

In 2022, the Philharmonic broke the record for the largest concert in the world, with 16,000 children and young people. Do you plan to repeat another similar milestone?

DG: We broke a record, but the greater purpose was to show what we have advanced in Bogotá in terms of musical training. This year we are happy because we will have another milestone: in November, the Sons and Daughters of Peace choir, made up of children of signatories of the Peace Agreement, will perform at the United Nations Assembly with a message in favor of peace in Colombia and the world.

What place does peace have in all this effort?

DG: It is a fundamental line. We are not dedicated to music: our work is anthropological. We seek to contribute, through music, to our society’s transition from a deep-rooted culture of war and violence to one of sensitivity to peace and reconciliation.

This content was prepared with the support of the Bogotá Philharmonic*


Luc's expertise lies in assisting students from a myriad of disciplines to refine and enhance their thesis work with clarity and impact. His methodical approach and the knack for simplifying complex information make him an invaluable ally for any thesis writer.