NEOJIBA – Bahia, Brazil
Ricardo Castro, an International pianist (and former winner of the Leeds Piano Competition), has set up a flourishing youth music programme working with some of the poorest children in his native Bahià, Brazil.
Ricardo Castro is the Founder and General Director of NEOJIBA – Núcleos Estaduais de Orquestras Juvenis e Infantis da Bahia. He is also the Artistic Director of the Bahia Youth Symphony Orchestra and teaches at the Lausanne Haute École de Musique in Switzerland.
Born in Brazil, Ricardo Castro has an international career as a pianist and won the 1993 Leeds International Piano Competition (the unique Latin- American winner in the competition’s history). However, since the founding of NEOJIBA, he has put all his efforts into developing an initiative in Bahia which is solid enough to survive government changes, in the hope that others will follow the example in the rest of Brazil.
Since 2007 NEOJIBA has offered the possibility of change in the lives of children and young people through the collective practice of music and by acquiring the essential tools that allow them to reach the full extent of their capabilities. NEOJIBA’s success is demonstrated by the high level of excellence achieved by the musicians of his orchestras.
NEOJIBA is based on Venezuela’s "El Sistema" programme. It has a Centre for Management and Training – NGF – in Salvador, Bahia and five other Centres in the state of Bahia, touching directly more than 900 young people. The programme provides free musical instruments, rehearsal and teaching of music theory by qualified professionals, transportation assistance and a snack. The members of the NGF also receive a scholarship. NEOJIBA is now a priority program of the Government of Bahia and a pioneer in Brazil, run by the Association of Friends of Youth and Children Orchestras and NEOJIBA - AOJIN, with maintenance of the Secretariat of Culture of the State and support of the Teatro Castro Alves.
Image credits: Christian Cravo (above)