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Gustavo Dudamel on El Sistema

"El Sistema is not a music conservatory, not a musical factory. It's a social project, working in communities, especially where problems are more exposed. With El Sistema, you not only change one life, you change the life of the community."—Gustavo Dudamel

El Sistema—the spectacularly successful social action program from Venezuela—aims to transform children's lives through classical music. Established 37 years ago by José Antonio Abreu, El Sistema today reaches more than 300,000 of Venezuela’s neediest children using music as a vehicle to instill values a sense of community, commitment and self-worth.

As Gustavo Dudamel, the most famous graduate of El Sistema, explains, "I studied music since I was four years old, and from that moment I became part of a family. And that family has taught me things; not only musical things, but things I have to face in life, and that is where the success of the system lies."

On December 8, we explore El Sistema and its influence on educational thinking in the United States during Discovery Day: El Sistema. The afternoon features a keynote lecture by Dr. Leon Botstein, a panel discussion with Dr. José Antonio Abreu, and a screening of the documentary Dudamel: Let the Children Play.

Voices from Latin America Artistic Advisor Gustavo Dudamel on El Sistema.

December 7, Venezuelan Brass Ensemble
December 8, Discovery Day: El Sistema
Voices from Latin America
Voices from Latin America: Venezuela
Voices from Latin America: El Sistema

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