Sistema Aotearoa has extended its global network, thanks to its latest visitor.
Russian violinist Sergey Malov met 180 Otara school children aged 5 to 9 when he stopped by Otara Music and Arts Centre to donate three half-sized violins to the group.
The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra teamed up with the Otara Music and Arts Centre to start the youth orchestra programme and expose kids to the fun of music.
New Zealand has partnered with Sistema Venezuela in the country where it all started 35 years ago.
El Sistema is a network of children's and youth orchestras, music centres and workshops in Venezuela, in which children and young people learn to play an instrument.
"I've heard many things about Sistema Aotearoa through friends who are involved," Mr Malov says. "It's such a wonderful project and it's just incredible what they achieve – that so many people can be introduced to this wonderful material."
Mr Malov, the 2011 winner of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition, answered the children's questions and spoke briefly about his career and his first-ever music teacher Tatiana Liberova.
He then wowed the crowd of kids and parents with a short performance of two of his favourite pieces.
Sistema director Dr Joe Harrop says the three violins, valued at $300 each, "will last for many years.
"They're a quality instrument that make a great sound. And when you make a great sound you're encouraged to play more and practise more."
Mr Malov is touring the county with Chamber Music New Zealand and says music transforms lives and the children will learn lifelong skills as part of the orchestra.
"Some will go on to big things but it is a wonderful thing to organise all of them together and introduce them to something very beautiful.
"It can be a sound, or maybe a recording or maybe just a person which can give such a strong impression and if there are people around who can support it then it could be great," he says.
"And to be inspired by the material itself is a wonderful thing," Mr Malov says.
- © Fairfax NZ News