World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award Given to Tenor Juan Diego Florez

Florez, Juan Diego - Sinfonia por el PeruPeruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez was in Davos this week to receive the Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum.

The award — also given to U.S. actor Matt Damon, conductor Lorin Maazel and Iranian-born artist Shirin Neshat —has been given in recognition of Florez’ work in founding Sinfonia por el Peru, an organization that since it first opened in 2011 has created 14 music centers dedicated to choral and orchestral practice for children in the poorest areas of Peru’s cities.

On expressing his awe and surprise for the award, Florez told the Forum audience that he founded the organization after travelling in 2009 to Venezuela to see the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra founded and led by Gustavo Dedamel. 

“In an orchestra and a chorus, children learn values, they learn a language of beauty, a language that fills the spirit, that makes them better, better human beings, and so by that they can transform society, they can go to their families and that attitude is contagious, it really passes that set of values and that spirit to the families, and their families, their parents, their father and mother, they really become better. And that is transmitted to the whole community.  So this is a contagious process.”

Florez, Juan Diego - WEC“It is a miracle of social transformation through the power of music,” he added.

Sinfonia del Peru is also in the process of beginning two related projects.  One is a series of “luthiers”, the first to be in the rich crafts traditions area of Cusco, where children will learn to make musical instruments.

The second would seem to be less easy — to incorporate handicapped children, deaf and dumb children, to sing and play music.

“You’re asking yourself how,” Florez smiled. “But they can.”

Sinfonia por el Peru is funded by corporate and international sponsors, and leading world figures committed to the Sinfonia’s work include opera singers Placido Domingo, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Monserrat Caballé, actress Catherine Deneuve, Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel and Nobel author Mario Vargas Llosa. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *