Throughout my blog I have frequently mentioned musicians and ensembles who are both part of Venezuela’s El Sistema or came out of the program. I wanted to spend one of my last posts discussing El Sistema due to its importance in the brass world and global music world.
El Sistema was founded in 1975 by Venezuelan music educator Jose Antonio Abreu. The goal of this program is to reach underprivileged and potentially “at risk” youth and incorporate them into orchestras and other music programs to teach art and team building skills. Starting in 1976, due to the programs success it began to be fully government funded. The program has given hundreds of thousands of young musicians an opportunity to perform for their community and abroad. Some of the notable prestigious ensembles within El Sistema are the Simon Bolivar Orchestra, the Caracas Youth Symphony, Orchestra Simon Bolivar Latin Caribbean, and the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble.
There has been a push to incorporate this kind of social program in countries globally as a way to spread the arts and build a musical culture.