Amid the hand wringing over the lack of funding for musical education in many schools and the wailing over classical music's shrinking audiences, here's an interesting story about classical musics powers as an agent for social change in Venezuela.
"The program is the brainchild of Venezuelan conductor José Antonio Abreu, 66, who in 1975 envisioned classical music training as a social service that could change the lives of lower-income, at-risk, and special needs children. From 11 young musicians at the first rehearsal in a Caracas garage, his vision has grown into a national treasure, with 240,000 children as young as 2 -- some deaf, blind, or otherwise disabled -- now studying and performing in orchestras and choruses nationwide. Hundreds of them tour to international acclaim."
Read the rest of this story here.
And, in contrast, authorities in North America have found a decidedly different social role for classical music:
"A transportation agency is using the soothing sounds of Bach and Beethoven to combat teen rowdiness in rail stations here. " More here.