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The Medellín Philharmonic performs several concerts a year to encourage young people to connect with music. Photo: FilarMed
The Medellín Philharmonic performs several concerts a year to encourage young people to connect with music. Photo: FilarMed

The world's most innovative orchestra is from Colombia

The world classical and artistic music society, Classical:NEXT, awarded the Medellín Philharmonic Orchestra with its Innovation Award.

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The Philharmonic Orchestra of Medellin (FilarMed) has won two awards in less than a year, making it one of the most prestigious musical groups in Latin America. At the end of May, it received the Classical:NEXT Innovation Award, and in November 2021 it received, with the band Tu Rockcito, the Latin Grammy in the Music for Children category.

For the Classical:NEXT award, "the jury valued the Orchestra's management model that strengthens close relationships, believes in music as an agent of social transformation and turns its efforts to programs that bring symphonic music to all populations in the region, reaching unconventional spaces and serving neuro-diverse youth, victims and ex-combatants of the armed conflict in Colombia," the organization announced in an official statement. 

"That has been the main motivation, to stay relevant and ask ourselves how we can contribute to weave a better society from what we do best: symphonic music," said Maria Catalina Prieto, executive director of Filarmed, referring to how difficult it is to be an orchestra in a country like Colombia. 

In addition to recognizing the work of the musicians, both of the awards obtained this year are an explicit commitment to improve what is done, to qualify the artistic work and social inclusion.

"This type of recognition has to come with a great responsibility to do things better and better, to have a better relationship with the communities, to continue doing innovative projects," said Prieto.

The director of the Philharmonic also mentioned that music has historically been a vehicle for social transformation and for talking about issues that are traditionally difficult, which is why they have organized a concert entitled Diverse Music, where music is no longer seen as entertainment but as a tool for transformation.

The concert includes a repertoire of pieces by W. A. Mozart, L. van Beethoven and P. I. Tchaikovsky. It will also feature the special participation of two nationally-renowned artists: Spanish conductor Francisco Valero-Terribas and Colombian soprano Manuela Tamayo Briceño, one of the most promising national singers.

After Music and Democracy, the next appearance for Filarmed will be on June 18 in the concert A Forest of Sounds, on the World Day of Desertification and Drought.

About the Medellín Philharmonic 

Filarmed is a nonprofit organization, created 39 years ago, funded with public and private resources from local, national and international organizations to carry out projects in which music has the greatest impact on society.

It is currently living one of the best moments in its history. Over the next five years, it will work on four fronts: first, to be a musical model in Latin America, to be recognized as one of the most important orchestras in the region and even worldwide. Second, to be a bold and innovative organization that can produce captivating experiences with versatile musicians who, beyond playing one instrument well, work with others and with other artistic disciplines. Third, to be an orchestra rooted in and committed to all types of populations in diverse territories, putting its capabilities at the service of social transformation, using music to improve the lives of all, and finally to be an orchestra that is financially, organizationally and environmentally sustainable.

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