Brazil is next to launch a sistema

Brazil is next to launch a sistema


norman lebrecht

January 01, 2012

Alex Klein, former principal oboe of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, has been appointed music director of the Paraiba Symphony Orchestra in his native Brazil with a mandate to put the state – bigger than Switzerland – back on the musical map.

First up, he will be establishing a Venezuela-like sistema. Here’s what he tells Slipped Disc:

  • Alex Klein

Plans call for about 20 youth orchestras to span the state by the end of 2013 – some of those are already in existence and will be reigned into the System with a unified curriculum and approach, as well as a clever interaction of young soloists contests, conferences and opportunities for conductors.

Gravações de Alex Klein

The example of the Venezuelan Sistema is obvious, as it has demonstrated 
to be a superb tool in using music as a driving force in teaching 
citizenship in risky areas. But the Paraiba Sistema will take that in 
a new direction, it will also apply to the dozens of Symphonic Bands 
and Fanfares in the state, as well as choirs. The state’s immense 
musical heritage will be valued into the symphonic world through 
competitions for your composers and young arrangers who will help us 
establish the main musical bread-and-butter of our Sistema. We will 
also expand the Sistema idea into the universities, leading young 
musicians all the way from their childhood beginnings all the way to 
professional life (whether or not they will end up as musicians).

Alex, who helped raise world outcry when Roberto Minczuk sought to replace old players for new in the Brazil Symphony Orchestra, pledges that none of his musicians in Paraiba will be required to reaudition for their jobs.

We wish him, and them, well.


  • Ole Bohn says:

    This is very good news . There is so much talent in the region and I am very happy that Alex Klein will put Paraiba on the musical map. I wish him good luck and hope he will get all the support he needs.

  • Charles Stegeman says:

    Alex Klein is one of the World’s most respected musicians of our time. That he would choose to put his energies and talent into this region of his birth Country is a testament to his commitment to youth and culture throughout the world. Now let’s see the whole country get behind him here and make his vision a reality.

  • Nurhan Arman says:

    This is wonderful news! Congratulations to Alex Klein and Paraibo Symphony. And bravo for the El Sistema initiative.

  • Brazil already has a number of existing Sistema program, most notably Neojiba ( in Bahia, Salvador under the distinguished artistic leadership of pianist Ricardo Castro. The primary orchestra of the program, Orquestra 2 de Julho, is entering its sixth year of existence and performed with Lang Lang at Royal Festival Hall last summer.

    Considering that Neojiba, with its exemplary strategy and faculty, ( has taken 5 years to develop two orchestras from scratch, expecting Mr. Klein to deliver 20 (new?) youth ensembles in the space of a year sounds extremely ambitious. Like you, I wish him and them well.