Venezuela claims Guinness World Record for largest orchestra

FILE PHOTO: Guinness World Record attempt for the largest orchestra in the world, in Caracas
FILE PHOTO: Conductor Andres David Ascanio conducts musicians of Venezuela's National System of Youth Orchestras and Choirs during a concert as they try to break the Guinness World Record for the largest orchestra in the world, in Caracas, Venezuela November 13, 2021. REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria

November 21, 2021

By Vivian Sequera

CARACAS (Reuters) -Venezuela’s National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras – known as “El Sistema” – has set a new Guinness record for the world’s largest orchestra with 8,573 musicians playing together, the country’s government said on Saturday.

A week ago more than 12,000 musicians played a classical piece together for more than five minutes as they sought to beat a Russian record that was set two years ago.

Venezuela’s Information Minister Freddy Nanez and the Russian ambassador in Caracas, Sergey Melik-Bagdasarov, congratulated the musicians on Saturday in an address broadcast on state television.

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.

During the broadcast, President Nicolas Maduro showed the certificate from Guinness World Records which recognized that “El Sistema” broke the record with 8,573 musicians in the orchestra.

The previous record was for an orchestra of 8,097 musicians who played together in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Conditions require musicians to be playing simultaneously without people swapping in and out, or lending their instruments to other players.

Guinness did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“El Sistema” counts some 350,000 children and youths among its rank, playing in a network of 180 orchestras.

(Reporting by Vivian SequeraWriting by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Sandra Maler)