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.
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.