The great maestro Gustavo Dudamel and an international group of world-class musicians come together for a musical homage to José Antonio Abreu—the man behind Venezuela’s revolutionary El Sistema and Dudamel’s personal mentor—who passed away in March 2018. Since this visionary musician and humanist economist founded the music education program in 1975, it has helped thousands of underprivileged children across South America to rise out of poverty through their study of classical music.
One of El Sistema’s greatest success stories is Gustavo Dudamel himself, a shooting star whose career has led him all the way to the podium of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The A mi Maestro concert, conducted by Dudamel, celebrates Maestro Abreu’s memory and the hundreds of El Sistema-inspired programs around the world. Joining Dudamel is an all-star orchestra (made up of world-class musicians from prestigious European and American orchestras) that will play side by side with the Youth and Children's Orchestras Foundation of Chile (FOJI) and the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela in the spirit of building bridges and uniting cultures through music. The concert program features some of Abreu’s favorite symphonic works: the first act Prelude from Wagner’s Lohengrin, Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, and Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony.
Since I was a boy, in my early childhood, I always wanted to be a musician, and, thank God, I made it. From my teachers, my family and my community, I had all the necessary support to become a musician. All my life I've dreamed that all Venezuelan children have the same opportunity that I had. ...From the very first rehearsal, I saw the bright future ahead. ...When I arrived at the rehearsal, only 11 kids had shown up, and I said to myself, "Do I close the program or multiply these kids?" I decided to face the challenge, and on that same night, I promised those 11 children I'd turn our orchestra into one of the leading orchestras in the world.—from Abreu’s acceptance speech for the 2009 TED Prize.
Photo: José Antonio Abreu and Gustavo Dudamel © Claudia Prieler