Iberacademy: Human Development Based on Musical Excellence

The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

Iberacademy: Human Development Based on Musical Excellence

Irene Littfack, Journalist, Iberacademy

07-07-2021

Cordillera Quartet playing string quartets at Iberacademy Hall in Medellín. Credit: Iberacademy.

More than a decade ago, Colombian orchestra conductor Alejandro Posada founded the Iberoamerican Philharmonic Academy—Iberacademy—in Medellín with one purpose in mind: to provide young Latin American talent with opportunities for human development through musical education of excellence.

Today, Iberacademy has grown into an international platform for hundreds of young people from Colombia and other Latin American countries who are artistically trained along three main tracks: musical performance, focused on individual, orchestral, and chamber music practice; pedagogy, centered on the training of mentors, who generously give back their knowledge to other young talents; and creative entrepreneurship, fostering the creation of artistic projects, leadership, and artistic management to impact society positively.

To meet these objectives, Iberacademy has several permanent activities and programs: the Ibero-American Philharmonic Orchestra, which includes the Iberacademy Camerata and other chamber music ensembles; masterclasses with internationally renowned artists; the artistic projection program, which includes musical exchanges, concert tours, performance opportunities, scholarships, and alliances; the mentoring program; and the training program for comprehensive education and leadership.

Violin masterclasses in Santa Fe, a small Colombian town, with Iberacademy mentors from In Crescendo Musical Program. Credit: Iberacademy.

Based on our certainty that forming a strong coalition is the best way to expand young talent and develop the territories’ cultural ecosystems, Iberacademy has worked hand in hand with music education programs in Latin America, conducting pedagogical exchanges, connecting these programs with the world, and supporting their educational processes.

Iberacademy members come from diverse backgrounds—vulnerable populations, small towns with low education rates, cities with great opportunities. The common characteristic in all of them is a conviction that artistic education can contribute to the social development of their communities, and that one must give back, with gratitude and excellence, the opportunities and privileges they have obtained. In this way, Iberacademy stands out as a program of social transformation.

For Estefanía Tezanos, Iberacademy cellist from Bolivia and program fellow, having this support is a way to acquire knowledge and then pay it forward. “Music is a school that forms human values, such as discipline, patience, or self-esteem, that are reflected in everything you do in life.”

Thus Iberacademy’s philosophy is based on the three pillars of its daily work: gratitude as a way of honoring the privileges that life gives us; generosity as a feeling that mobilizes noble actions; and excellence as a path to opportunities.

Iberoamerican Philharmonic Orchestra rehearsal at Iberacademy Hall in Medellín. Credit: Iberacademy.

As an extension of these principles, and in addition to the program’s mission, Iberacademy launched the Musical Growth Program for Antioquia and Latin America in 2020. Named In Crescendo (Programa de Crecimiento Musical por Antioquia y Latinoamérica), the program aims to detect new talent and support the training of children and young people through mentorship. So far, 32 municipalities in the department of Antioquia, in Colombia—as well as in four other Latin American countries (Bolivia, Peru, Chile, and Nicaragua)—have been supported by this program, which has already selected over 500 new talents as musical leaders.

Iberacademy’s work is possible thanks to the support of its main ally, the Hilti Foundation, an organization that believes in music as a tool for human development. The organization also maintains academic alliances with music institutions around the world, from Miami to Switzerland, from Spain to right here in Colombia. Through these partnerships, members are able to collaborate, inquire, and attend masterclasses.

The result of all this is a generation of young people who are sensitive, empathic, generous, and building better societies every day. Young people like Yadilton Zorrilla, who with his talent and discipline went from training in the small town of Bugalagrande to serving as double bassist of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, or clarinetist Jhoser Salazar, who is completing his doctorate at the University of Houston and has been selected as a clarinet professor at Eafit University.

A decade of this work has reinforced Iberacademy’s belief that discipline, vocation, and talent are transversal pathways in any journey of personal growth. To transform one’s individual self, one must put these values into practice; to transform a society, everyone must do so collectively. In that spirit, Iberacademy will continue to work every day with its partners to fulfill its mission, celebrating and developing the high artistic and creative potential that exists in Latin America. Armed with sensitivity, empathy, gratitude, and generosity, we will seek in art a way to build a better world.

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