Venezuela on Saturday won the Guinness record for the world’s largest orchestra after thousands of local musicians performed Tchaikovsky’s “Slavonic March.”
Brought together by Venezuela’s publicly funded “El Sistema” program, which was founded in 1975, the program has since provided classical music training to thousands of working-class children.
One notable alumni of the program is Gustavo Dudamel, the music director of the Paris Opera and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
“I can confirm that this attempt has been successful, congratulations,” an official in charge of delivering the verdict announced on a screen during a ceremony at the El Sistema headquarters. “You are officially amazing.”
Venezuela’s Information Minister Freddy Nanez and the Russian ambassador in Caracas, Sergey Melik-Bagdasarov, congratulated the musicians in an adress broadcast on state television on Saturday.
The broadcast included a recording of Guinness World Records expert Susana Reyes announcing that the Venezuelan musicians had been successful in setting a new record after they played La Marche Slave by Pyotr Tchaikovsky for more than five minutes.
About 12,000 musicians, including both children and adults who are members of the country’s main orchestra, the Simon Bolivar, played for the record on November 13.
However, the Guinness World Records recognized only 8,573 of them as having set the record in a certificate issued by the organization.
The performance of the piece was observed by over 260 auditors from the accounting firm KPMG, charged with ensuring each musician complied with the rules to set a new record, which included not sharing instruments and playing for at least five minutes during the score.
“This is a great achievement not just for El Sistema but for our country,” said program director Eduardo Mendez.
The previous record for the world’s largest orchestra was set by an orchestra of 8,097 musicians who played together in St. Petersburg, Russia.