Posts Tagged ‘El Sistema’

Impoverished Kids + Classical Music = Magic!

June 16, 2009

In 1975, Venezuelan economist and amateur musician José Antonio Abreu founded El Sistema, a government-funded music-education program. Abreu believed that an orchestra is a key component of an ideal society, and that all children should be nurtured in music. 

One of the kids who came through the program is Gustavo Dudamel, who was hired by the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Music Director at the ripe old age of twenty-six in 2007.

As this April 13, 2008 Sixty Minutes feature on Dudamel explains:

[Dudamel] was in a music program which is a Venezuelan innovation. It is called El Sistema, “the system,” and it takes children, a quarter of a million children, almost all from poor neighborhoods, and teaches them how to play instruments. This has led to hundreds of youth orchestras sprouting up all over the country. But El Sistema is less a music program than a profound social movement that takes kids off the streets, takes them away from crime and drugs and despair.

The above video, courtesy of TED, features Dudamel in Caracas conducting (more…)