Posted in Arts & Culture, Society & Politics, tagged classical music, culture, development, el sistema, gustavo dudamel, gustavo the great, Hugo Chavez, Jose Antonio Abreu, Los Angeles Philharmonic, music, music education, news, poverty, simon bolivar youth orchestra, venezuela, Venezuelan culture, venezuelan government, venezuelan music on June 26, 2008 |
By now, you’ve surely heard of Venezuela’s renowned music program “El Sistema,” which gives young children from poor families an opportunity to learn how to play classical music. The program is 30 years old, and currently reaches quarter of a million students. It is also having a big impact around the world.
Here is a roundup of articles you may have missed:
The Associated Press writes that Venezuela’s youth orchestra program has turned the country into “a powerhouse for producing talented musicians.” The prime example is conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who will head the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra in 2009. “‘El Sistema’ has given me everything. It gave me the possibility of having a path in life with music,” he said.
Reuters notes that rich countries like the U.S. and and UK are “lining up” to imitate the Venezuelan program. Hundreds of thousands of children in Venezuela have sidestepped a life of poverty and crime through the free education, so why not try it elsewhere? L.A. and Baltimore are developing similar youth orchestras.
Wired Magazine opines that, regardless of what people think about President Chavez, nothing can touch the shining example of his state-funded music education program. The heavy investments in poverty relief and human development indeed show that Venezuela has its priorities straight.
The New York Times reports that Venezuela is testing the peaceful techniques of “El Sistema” in prisons across the country. Here, “budding musicians include murderers, kidnappers, thieves and… dozens of “narcomulas,” or drug mules, as small-scale drug smugglers are called.” If the attempt to humanize jails works out, prison reform in Venezuela may also set the standard for other nations.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Arts & Culture, tagged classical music, education, education in venezuela, gustavo dudamel, gustavo the great, Jose Antonio Abreu, music, music education, simon bolivar youth orchestra, venezuela, venezuelan conductor, Venezuelan culture, venezuelan music on May 30, 2008 |
A youth music education program in Venezuela that has earned praise around the world recently won Spain’s Prince of Asturias Prize.
Since it began in 1975, “El Sistema” has taught 600,000 young people from poor areas of Venezuela to play classical music. It is still picking up steam: 275,000 children are currently enrolled in a network of 120 orchestras nation-wide. The program has also produced international stars such as the conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who heads the top-notch Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra. Their new album is called Fiesta.
“El Sistema” is profiled in UK newspaper The Telegraph. It turns out that founder José Antonio Abreu is seriously in demand right now: Scotland has caught the music bug, and will consult him on a similar initiative. Not to be outdone, the city of Baltimore, Maryland also plans to launch a music program for kids that takes its cue from the successful Venezuelan model. Read about it in the Baltimore Sun.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Society & Politics, The Region, tagged boston globe, caracas, Chavez, citgo, culture, Hugo Chavez, Indy 500, Jose Antonio Abreu, media, milka duno, music, news, orlando sentinel, politics, Royal Philharmonic Society, simon bolivar youth orchestra, venezuela on May 19, 2008 |
Last week, the American Society of Newspaper Editors went to Venezuela on a fact-finding mission. Their travels included a meeting with President Hugo Chavez. You can read about their observations, and what the Venezuelan leader had to say, in the Orlando Sentinel (editor Charlotte Hall is pictured here) and the Boston Globe.
Cultural figures from Venezuela have also been in the news lately. For all those sports fans, you may be interested to know that the increasingly popular Milka Duno qualified on Sunday for the Indy 500. She enters the race next weekend in her Citgo-sponsored car, ranked two spots higher than last year. You can also catch her silver screen cameo in the new movie Speed Racer.
The Venezuelan music education guru and founder of the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, Jose Antonio Abreu, was made an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society at their annual awards ceremony in London last week. Thanks to the unique vision and leadership of Abreu, the Society exuded in a statement, “lives are being transformed, communities empowered, and orchestras built for the future.” That is certainly worth celebrating.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Arts & Culture, tagged 60 minutes, classical music, education, el dude, el sistema, gustavo dudamel, gustavo the great, Jose Antonio Abreu, Los Angeles Philharmonic, music, music education, simon bolivar youth orchestra, venezuela, Venezuelan culture, venezuelan government, venezuelan music on April 14, 2008 |
2 Comments »
A youth music education program in Venezuela known as “El Sistema” (“the system”) was featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes yesterday. The program has taught hundreds of thousands of youngsters — starting at 2 years of age! — in poor areas of Venezuela to play classical music.
Watch the 60 Minutes broadcast.
The government-funded “Sistema” was started in 1975 by José Antonio Abreu. It has produced stars such as the maverick 27 year-old conductor Gustavo Dudamel (known to 60 Minutes viewers as “Gustavo the Great”). Dudamel made his mark conducting the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, and has been chosen to head the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra beginning in 2009.
Read Full Post »