Praise for The Legacy
remarkable and penetrating review of the role music has
played, does play and will always play in our lives.
'The Legacy' is a marvelous and human narrative that
gives us all a newfound hope in the ultimate expression
of the human condition."
- Lorin Maazel
Musical Director, New York Philharmonic
"In 'The Legacy', the intricate web of human experiences
is explained in the simplest of terms: what unites us as
people is greater than that which separates us."
- Paulo Coelho
Author, THE ALCHEMIST
"'The Legacy' depicts the good we can leave for future
generations. It is about strife and hope. Bravo!"
- Benjamin Zander
Musical Director, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra
Best Feature Documentary
LEGACY is a feature length documentary that explores the
hope, dignity, and joy that the pursuit of excellence engenders
in a human being. We follow the lives of nine young musicians
as they tour South America as part of The Youth Orchestra
of the Americas (YOA) and then return to their hometowns.
Along the way, we get to know the nobility of these dedicated
young professionals, the impact that music has had on their
lives, and the impact they, in turn, have on the world that
LEGACY is a story about hope and a recipe for living a life
filled with joy in the face of hardship, alienation, and
the noble struggle to become the best for the benefit of
the whole. It includes live performances by the YOA
and its internationally acclaimed guest soloists under the
direction of three respected conductors.
to 31 cities in 11 countries over the past year, covering
every corner of this hemisphere, from Canada to Argentina,
from the Caribbean to the Andes and Berkshire Mountains,
we have documented the struggles and joys of these young
musician's stories are framed by two heart-warming fortuitous
encounters we had while accompanying them on their journey,
encounters that show the power of music to transform lives:
first was with an impoverished 9-year old boy on Margarita
Island, next to whom fate, quite literally, placed a violin
on the day we just happened to be passing his shanty. The
boy (named Ludwig!) and his family were squatting in a crumbling
concrete building (without electricity or running water)
by the side of the road leading to the YOA's hotel. Their
sole means of income was a crude cocada (coconut milkshake)
stand comprised of an old picnic table covered by a thatch
roof of browning palm leaves. A few nights earlier, someone
had stolen their blender, and one of their regular customers
had, in turn, donated the violin to them in hopes that they
could sell it and make enough money to buy a new blender.
We spoke to Ludwig's mother and made her a deal: if she
would keep the violin and send Ludwig to Margarita's free
music conservatory, we would buy her a new blender. Three
weeks later he played his first concert as part of the second
violin section of the Margarita Youth Orchestra.
Our second twist of good fortune happened
when one of our young musicians introduced us to her teacher,
David Arben, survivor #14088 of the Flossenbürg concentration
camp in Germany. At the age of 14, David was interred in
the camp, lost his entire family, and was facing certain
death, until an SS commander realized he was a violin virtuoso
and miraculously spared him. He has since gone on to become
the Associate Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra,
as well as a world-renowned soloist.
stories of the young musicians all share a common theme:
how the passion for music allowed them to transcend the
constraints of their local environment. Yet each story is
unique and the diversity of the group brings to the forefront
the great cultural quilt that is our American Continent.
The musicians are:
23, tuba, New Hampshire, USA
Raised in the insular, often intellectually limiting environment
of small town America, Jonathan is a true diamond in the
rough – a hip yet unpretentious, quietly self-assured
kid who yearns for a bigger pond to swim in, but also appreciates
the good fortune he has had to grow up in such safe, stable
surroundings. Music has given Jonathan not only a passion
for his life, but also the opportunity to break free from
the limitations of his upbringing, exposing him to different
places and cultures that he could never even imagine growing
up in rural New Hampshire. One of only three tuba players
the YOA has ever known, Jonathan is a graduate of the esteemed
conservatory at Oberlin College, and has just been accepted
into the Master’s music program at McGill University
cello, Ponce, Puerto Rico
Possessing model good looks and a quiet, thoughtful demeanor,
Yaitza ran away from home and gave up a full swimming scholarship
to the University of Puerto Rico (where she was studying
pre-med) to enter a conservatory and pursue her dream of
music – much to the dismay of her highly educated
mother, whose approval Yaitza desperately wants. Hers is
the sometimes heartbreaking struggle of a person trying
to pursue their dreams without disappointing or hurting
the ones they love. Yaitza was nearly ready to quit music
when she was accepted into the YOA, and had an experience
that, literally, changed her life. Today, Yaitza has just
been offered a full scholarship to continue studying the
cello in the Master’s music program at Temple University.
Marcial, 26, trombone, San
Jose, Costa Rica
If the musicians of the YOA ever voted for a president of
the orchestra, Marcial is likely whom they’d elect.
Already a professional musician in his home country, Marcial
is a confident, articulate, sensitive ambassador for musicians
of all stripes. He plays first trombone with the main national
band in Costa Rica, as well as the Costa Rican National
Symphony and a Salsa band that play the clubs of downtown
San Jose, in addition to being an often-utilized studio
recording artist. But with all of that, Marcial is still
forced to play with a borrowed trombone, unable to afford
his own because of the paltry wages he earns, even with
so many different jobs at once. Is he bitter that his work
is not better compensated? Not in the least, although he’d
tell you it’s a sign of how underappreciated musicians
are, and how the world does not know how to properly value
a musician’s work and skill. Although he hopes to
one day also be a journalist, and possibly a politician,
for now Marcial is content to continue bringing music to
the world every waking moment that he is able.
Johanna, 23, viola, Caracas,
A born social butterfly who hides a deeply thoughtful nature
behind an extroverted demeanor and a cell phone that seems
permanently attached to her ear, Johanna is the undisputed
leader of every circle in which she enters. Another professional
musician, Johanna chose the viola over the volatile streets
she has to walk through every day in order to get to rehearsal.
Despite her keen awareness that without music her life could
have taken a much darker turn, Johanna and her family are
among the most loving, supportive, gregarious people you
will ever find anywhere. A product of Venezuela’s
extraordinary orchestra system, Johanna has been, and continues
to be, the person to whom others within both her home orchestra
and the YOA look for direction.
Guillermo, 22, clarinet, Chinchina,
You would never know that tragedy has played such a prominent
role in Guillermo’s young life. Born and raised in
the city once considered the most dangerous in Colombia,
Guillermo’s warm, winning personality and mop of long
blond hair belie a difficult past, one that includes a brother
killed in a freak accident and a sister living in a vegetative
state. A deeply religious young man, Guillermo’s is
a journey of giving despite loss, and hope despite despair.
He shines brightly as an example of the power of perseverance
and faith. Guillermo continues to study and play in Bogotá,
where he now resides and is part of a clarinet quartet that
focuses on traditional Colombian music. It is his dream
to continuing seeing and exploring the world outside of
Colombia, so that he can bring those experiences and influences
back to his home country.
Paule, 21, flute, Montreal,
Paule has been playing the flute since she was 5 years old.
Her mom is a schoolteacher and her dad a social worker who
travels to blighted countries to help them develop infrastructure
for tourism. Paule’s dream is to play for a professional
orchestra one day. Predominately a French speaker, she is
also proficient in English, and learned how to speak Spanish
while on tour with the orchestra.
Francisco, 19, violin, Vera
Francisco began his career as a musician by listening to
his dad and his uncle play ranchera music from the North
of Mexico, but ended up loving classical music and the violin.
Since the needs of his family and his feeling of responsibility
towards them does not allow for him to fully commit to his
life’s passion, Francisco studies dentistry, along
with his music studies. He begins his day at 6AM, and goes
from the clinic to the conservatory. The YOA tour was the
first time he had ever left Mexico.
Emilio, 21, viola, Mendoza,
Emilio began playing the viola at an early age and has never
been able to let it go. His father is a mountaineer and
his mother works in a local office. Emilio is desperate
to travel, looking for knowledge and experience he can bring
back to his hometown. It looks like he is getting his wish
– after the tour with the orchestra, Emilio was hired
by the Reina Sophia Orchestra in Madrid, Spain.
Mateus, 21, violin, Rio De
The star of the orchestra for no other reason than his humility
and his natural ability to infect the rest of the orchestra
with wit, the joy of life, and an infectious love of music.
Mateus wants to do whatever it takes to continue being a
musician. His joy for it and talent just might get him there.
to selections from the YOA's
2005 tour of South America.
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