"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."
Learn more about El Sistema with video interviews with Dr. Abreu and Gustavo Dudamel as well as orchestral performance of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, the flagship ensemble of the program.
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In this video on the occasion of his awarding of a 2009 TED Prize, El Sistema founder José Antonio Abreu shares his amazing story and reveals a wish that could have a big impact in the US and beyond.
Voices from Latin America Artistic Advisor and Music Director of El Sistema Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra, performing the second movement of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10 and Arturo Márquez's Danzón No. 2.
Maestro Dudamel and Dr. Abreu feature in this CBS News 60 Minutes segment that explains El Sistema and the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, which became the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.