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Luis Szarán

Luis Szarán is an internationally known composer, conductor and musicologist. He is Director of the Symphonic Orchestra of Asunción, Paraguay, and has directed symphonic and chamber orchestras all over the world. For his work in culture, Luis received numerous awards and recognitions such as: Official Knight of the Republic of Italy, National Order of Arts and Letters by the Ministry of Culture of France, National Order of Merit in the degree of Commander by the Republic of Paraguay, Rotary Club's Ovenbird Award, Paraguayan Congress's Innovation, Creativity and Scientific Investigation Medal, UNESCO's Orbis Guaraniticus and Silver Eye Awards, the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, 2014 Social Entrepreneur of the Schwab Foundation and member of the World Economic Forum, "Artist for Peace" of UNESCO with the H2O Sonidos de la Tierra Orchestra, among others.

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Sonidos de la Tierra
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Non-profit Social Enterprise
Education; Youth Perspectives; Fresh Water
Areas of Impact
Latin America, Paraguay

Sonidos de la Tierra

Sonidos de la Tierra uses music as a tool for social and community integration in Paraguay. Luis Szarán founded it in 2002 under the idea that “the kid who plays Mozart during the day doesn't break shop windows at night.” Music schools and youth orchestras are currently carrying on the activities and work in over 200 cities, towns, rural communities and slums.

Sonidos de la Tierra beneficiaries comprise the largest physical social network in the country. They manage the programme in their communities, generating 30% of the financial resources by their own means, with the remaining budget filled by donor contributions and institutional initiatives. About 60% of the music professors hired by Sonidos de la Tierra learned to play their instruments within the programme and 30% of the members of professional Paraguayan orchestras are former students who won their seats by audition. In addition, Sonidos has trained independent microentrepreneurs as luthiers who make a living repairing and maintaining instruments in their communities.

Sonidos founded an international orchestra named Welweite Klänge (Sounds of the World) in Nuremberg, Germany in 2006, uniting talented youth from the Americas, Europe, Africa and China. Welweite Klänge has performed over 200 concerts in Europe alone. In 2012, they launched a new programme: the H2O Orchestra, with instruments made of bottles, hoses, pipes and funnels, to promote water conservation. This ensemble is the emblem of H2O: Clean Water, a nationwide environmental education programme that has the objective of using orchestras to educate about water conservation. Furthermore, in 2013 Sonidos broke the Guinness World Record for the largest harp ensemble: 420 Paraguayan harpists doubled the previous record of 201 musicians set in Edinburgh in 2006. Sonidos de la Tierra, through the numerous youth orchestras, has been conducting social and civil education campaigns throughout the years in alliance with other organizations.


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