Synopsis by Mark Deming
Filmmaker Andrés Faucher explores the many ways in which art can transform lives in this documentary that follows a South American tour by the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, a classical ensemble comprised of gifted young musicians from North and South America. The Legacy focuses on nine members of the orchestra and the often difficult circumstances that brought them to their current position, from a trombone player from Costa Rica who is pursuing a budding career in both jazz and classical music but still hasn't earned enough money to own his own instrument; a Puerto Rican cellist who gave up a sports scholarship to follow her dreams of playing music; a clarinet player who has had to overcome a tragic family history, including the death of a brother and a severe ongoing illness that has attacked his sister; and a Mexican violinist who juggles dental school with a busy schedule of rehearsals and performances. As the YOA plays a series of concerts, the filmmakers follow the musicians both on and off stage, and en route we meet two more remarkable characters -- an eleven-year-old by from Margarita Island who obtains a violin by chance and discovers a talent he never knew he had, and David Arben, a violinist and music teacher living in Philadelphia whose gifts literally saved him from dying in a Nazi concentration camp. The Legacy was named "Best Documentary" at the 2009 Palm Beach International Film Festival.