From TED2009 - A little off the beaten path for our Ted Tuesday talk, this presentation is not of a performance, rather the acceptance speech by Jose Antonio Abreu for the 2009 Ted Prize. Abreu founded El Sistema (The System) in 1975 to help poor Venezuelan youth experience the joy of learning and instrument and playing in an orchestra. His commitment to this cause has paid huge dividends.
Thousands of at risk Venezuelan youth have been exposed to the power of classical music through his program, which has seeded 102 youth orchestras, 55 children's orchestras, 270 music centers, and has touched the lives of over 250,000 young musicians. The program has survived ten political administrations in its thirty year history and has grown to provide the Venezuelan people with a tremendous source of national pride.
El Sistema employs music education to lift impoverished children up, teach them valuable life skills, and open a world of potential to a huge demographic that would have few options to escape a life of poverty and cycle of violence. El Sistema has produced musicians of the highest caliber, many who have gone on to enjoy professional careers both on stage and behind the scenes at the worlds major Philharmonics and Professional Orchestras.
The simple message that Abreu has dedicated his life to is this; An Orchestra is first and foremost about togetherness, a place where children learn to listen to each other, and to respect one another.
Come back to our blog next week, when we will highlight a performance from El Sistema's most advanced group, The Teresa Carreno Youth Orchestra featuring the combined talent of the best high-school musicians from Venezuela.
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