Sir Colville Young and Joel Nagel announce the establishment of the Belize Academy of the Performing Arts (BAPA)

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

Belize Governor-General Sir Colville Young and Attorney Joel Nagel, a resident of San Pedro Town and the chairman of Caye International Bank Ltd., have announced the establishment of the Belize Academy of the Performing Arts (BAPA) in Belize City. The academy will work to create a high-caliber, professional national symphony in Belize to strengthen and expand music education throughout the country.
Peter Illavsky, of the world renowned Musikverein in Vienna, Austria, will be responsible for the day-to-day leadership of BAPA. He has spent a considerable amount of time in Belize assessing the musical resources currently available and directing Belize’s most promising talent in several performances. Illavsky’s career as a musician started in the Vienna Boys Choir when he just was a young boy. Since then, Illavsky has performed with other notable musicians such as Placido Domingo and Zuben Mehtah. He launched a similar project to build a professional symphony in South Africa in the early 1990s, which became highly successful and went on to tour Europe.
He is very excited about working in Belize. “There is already an enormous and diverse range of musical ability, which can be harnessed and developed into a unique sound that will incorporate Belize’s history as well as the various musical influences brought to the country by its different ethnic groups. I look forward to seeing Belize reach its full potential in developing its national musical identity, and I am happy to play a small role in the creation and development of BAPA.”
Professional musicians from Europe, the United States, and Mexico have already been recruited to serve as both teachers and performers for the orchestra until local talent is assembled to perform at a professional level.
Director Illavsky is expected to visit all the elementary high schools in Belize City and San Pedro Town in May, sharing more about program and how persons will be selected to be part of BAFA.
The Belizean Governor-General His Excellency Sir Colville Young has given BAPA his full support and has agreed to serve as its honorary chairman. He has made it a personal goal to encourage young people in music appreciation and he has been working tirelessly to procure donations and musical instruments for children whose families cannot afford them.
Nagel told The San Pedro Sun that great efforts are being made to attract Belize’s top corporate and non-profit foundation leaders to support the establishment of the academy. “We see the importance of creating a national identity here in Belize through music,” said Nagel. “We have been using the musical assistance we are now receiving from Austria, Germany, the United States, and Taiwan to not only create a professional Belizean symphony, but to work closely with students and teachers at all levels within Belize to develop our own local talent. This is key to BAPA’s long-term success,” he said.
The academy will hold its official debut in May and will go on a tour of Belize’s schools throughout June. A total of 21 appearances are scheduled so far. San Pedro public appearances will be announced later this month.

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