Friday, September 08, 2006

Japan's Praemium Imperiale Organization Designates Five Renaissance Artists And One Leading Renaissance Youth Training Program

The 2006 Praemium Imperiale Awards were announced yesterday. The awardees are painter Kusama Yayoi, sculptor Christian Boltanski, architect Frei Otto, composer Steve Reich, and ballet, theater, and film artist Maya Plisetskaya. A press release is expected soon.


The 2006 Praemium Imperiale Grant for Young Artists was awarded to:

The State Foundation for the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela (FESNOJIV)

Selected by William H. Luers , International Advisor

The State Foundation for the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela (FESNOJIV) was originally founded in 1975 by Venezuela’s former Minister of Culture, José Antonio Abreu. Its main aim is to recruit children from lower-income Venezuelan families and educate them through the playing and performance of classical music both individually and as part of an orchestra. Today, 250,000 children from as young as 2 and a half upwards participate in the program and as many as 210 orchestras have been established throughout the country as a result. With the conviction that music can turn adversity into hope and save children from crime, the FESNOJIV provides free musical instruments to children and teaches them according to their age and ability. Those children with outstanding talent are given the opportunity to join the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela where they are also provided with housing and a salary. Although Venezuela is one of the foremost petroleum exporting nations, it is also one of the most crime-ridden countries in South America and 50% of the population lives in poverty. However, not a single child participating in the program has ever been arrested. Martha Argerich, Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle, Krzysztof Penderecki, Mstislav Rostropovich and other artists who sympathize with the aims of the FESNOJIV have traveled to Caracas to teach and perform with these youngsters. Similar initiatives are now being started in other Latin American countries.

Russian architect Victor Hartmann submitted this design for the reconstruction of "The Great Gate of Kyiv [Kiev]"

On April 4, 1866 the Tsar Alexander II narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in the city of Kyiv [Kiev]. A competition was ordained for the design of a great gate to commemorate what was referred to as "the event of April 4, 1866" - the Imperial Censor forbidding language any more particular than this. While the Tsar was happy to have escaped with his life, he apparently was a bit uneasy at any explicit public acknowledgments of the fact. Perhaps it was this ambivalence that led to the eventual cancellation of the project; or it may have been a simple paucity of funds. Victor Hartmann's design for The Great Gate of Kyiv [Kiev] caused a sensation, and the architect himself felt it was the finest work he had yet done. The cancellation of the project must have come as a blow.

Text [slightly edited, as indicated] and image credit: With thanks.


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