MUSIC: Venezuelan creator of El Sistem, Jose Abreu dies aged 78
Jose Abreu, creator of Venezuelan El Sistema youth orchestras, dies
Abreu founded the globally acclaimed El Sistema, or The System, in 1975 in a garage with just nine musicians. From that, the network expanded to 300 choirs and orchestras that received awards from the Royal Swedish Academy and UNESCO.
“With devoted love and eternal gratitude to my mentor and father of El Sistema,” wrote Gustavo Dudamel, a famed Venezuelan conductor now the director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, on Twitter alongside a photo of himself with Abreu.
Abreu was born on May 7, 1939, in the small Andean city of Valera. He began his musical studies at nine and moved to Caracas to study composition.
“Abreu has given life to a musical system with which young people can be safe from the dangers of the street, of crime, of drugs,” said Simon Rattle, director of the Berlin Philharmonic, according to the El Sistema website.
Abreu’s model has been followed by other Latin American countries as well as some in Europe.