First American Esperanza Azteca Youth Orchestra established with 200 students

October 07, 2014

Los Angeles, CA – A unique public-private partnership today launched the Esperanza Azteca Youth Orchestra, providing more than 200 underprivileged Los Angeles school children the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument beginning with the 2014-2015 school year. The youth orchestra is a joint effort among Grupo Salinas and its Fundación Azteca, The Andrew Nikou Foundation, OpenGate Capital, the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Unified School District, Beyond the Bell and Community Partners.

Los Angeles students received their new instruments from 100 students from the Esperanza Azteca Youth Orchestra of Juarez, Mexico during an event with program supporters, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; Ricardo Salinas, President and Founder, Grupo Salinas; Andrew Nikou, CEO and Managing Partner, OpenGate Capital, and Founder, The Andrew Nikou Foundation; Gil Cedillo, City Councilmember for the First District; and Alvaro Cortes, Executive Director of Beyond the Bell. The Juarez orchestra also performed.

“It is an honor for the City of Los Angeles to be the home of the first Esperanza Azteca Youth Orchestra in the United States,” said Mayor Garcetti. “I am confident that here in Los Angeles we will create a model program that can be implemented in cities throughout the United States.”

Grupo Salinas and Fundación Azteca launched the Esperanza Azteca Youth Orchestra in Latin America in 2009. The program now includes 70 orchestras and choirs throughout Mexico and El Salvador. More than 14,000 Latin American children between the ages of five and 18 have benefitted from the program.

“Esperanza Azteca is an example of how, with the right tools and opportunities, children can do remarkable, inspiring things,” said Mr. Salinas. “The program has the power to change lives and create better individuals through music, while also instilling life-changing lessons about teamwork, dedication, discipline, self-esteem and passion.”

The orchestra will begin its first year at Florence Nightingale Middle School, with plans to expand to other schools in the district and students of all ages during the 2015-2016 school year. Fifteen music teachers, including a conductor, will work with students every afternoon following school, teaching them the basics of reading music and providing lessons with their individual instruments. The program plans to hold the orchestra’s first concert in the spring of

“The Esperanza Azteca Youth Orchestra offers students in the Los Angeles Unified School District the opportunity to complement their classroom education with the empowering benefits of music and the arts,” said Dr. John Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. “The orchestra will not only instill and hone our students’ musical talents, but will provide a positive and nurturing environment for them to become creative, engaged individuals.”

The Esperanza Azteca Youth Orchestra will help to further support and cultivate the minds and talents of Los Angeles’s underprivileged students, enhancing their educational opportunities and engagement with their classmates and community. The orchestra from Juarez exemplifies the power and impact of this program on children, their families and the larger community. The Mexican city of Juarez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, TX, is among the cities hardest hit
by the drug war.

“It is rewarding and exciting to bring this opportunity to the children of Los Angeles that can learn about, and develop a love for music,” said Mr. Nikou. “Through the Esperanza Azteca program, these terrific children will see how education and hard work can pay off, not only to the applause of their parents, but to all of Los Angeles, building a brighter, more confident future for all.”