A platform
for the art of music

Over 40 young people are involved in the Tarija Philharmonic Orchestra, which over recent years has played its part in the process of restoring the ancient music of Bolivia

Image Bolivian Orchestra

"Sometimes your destiny chooses you." That is how 22-year-old musician Facundo sums up the moment when he joined the Tarija Philharmonic Orchestra in Bolivia. He is one of 42 youngsters, many of them teenagers, who took part last year in the "Misiones de Chiquitos" International Festival of American Renaissance and Baroque Music, showcasing the world of musical culture that arose in the 18th century in what is now Bolivia.

Organised by APAC (the Association to Promote Art and Culture), the festival is seen as Bolivia's greatest cultural event, and the largest of its kind in the world. Our company supports the project as part of our recognition of the unique identity of the countries where we operate, their cultural diversity and customs. The Tarija region is home to the Caipipendi Contract Area, Repsol's main operation in Bolivia.

The Tarija Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 2016. Most of its members, including conductor Luiz do Amaral, came from the ranks of the Tarija Children's and Youth Orchestra, and had already earlier that year been centre-stage at the Barroque music festival, performing Symphony No. 40 by Pedro Ximénez de Abril Tirado, seen as the Mozart of Bolivia. A world premiere.

Having established themselves as the Philharmonic Orchestra, they repeated the experience. This time the work premiered was Symphony No. 16 by the same composer, who lived in Sucre from the middle of the 18th century. Both works were retrieved from the Sucre National Archive by Father Piotr Nawrot, a musicologist who has since the mid-1990s been working to restore Bolivia's valuable musical legacy.

The main aim of the Philharmonic is now to serve as a platform allowing the youngsters of Tarija to develop the art of music, discipline, and a love for all that surrounds and inspires them.

Conductor Luiz do Amaral is the cornerstone of the project, and strives to turn these young people into true artists, not simply musicians: "It is one thing to be a musician, and quite another to be an artist. This is a very specific criterion, but we apply it to the utmost. An artist does not simply express something, but also conveys it. What we try to teach is that the art of conveying feelings is born out of that humanity, that human sensitivity. If I want to convey love, joy… I have to feel it".

His music teaching experience with teenagers in fact came about when he saw a boy hold a violin bow wrongly. "But I saw joy and hope in his eyes… And I thought: there are so many youngsters like him in this region would like to learn how to play… So I changed my approach and became a music teacher. That is when my life changed," Luiz explains.

His philosophy has taken root among his young students. One good example is 15-year-old Luis Miguel, who plays the violin: "To me the most difficult thing is performing on the violin, but with practice and real commitment you can do it. Nothing is hard if you are disciplined."

Repsol supports the project as part of its recognition of the unique identity of the countries where it operates, their cultural diversity and customs