El Sistema in Venezuela


Watch the

The Promise of Music:  2010 National Children’s Orchestra of Venezuela

Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra, 2007 New Year’s Eve Concert: Leonard Bernstein’s Mambo

Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra: José Antonio Abreu TED Award Ceremony, 2009

José Antonio Abreu, a visionary Venezuelan conductor, economist and politician started the movement of orchestras and choirs in the late 1970s.

In 1996 Abreu helped create a new state foundation to ensure the continuation of Venezuela’s national system of children and youth orchestras, or “El Sistema”.  Currently over 400,000 students have participated in at least one of the over 200 children, youth and professional orchestras that El Sistema has created over 35 years.  About 70% of these students joined the system living under the line of poverty.

Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar (formerly known as FESNOJIV –short for ”State Foundation for the National System of Youth and Children Orchestras of Venezuela”) provides the basic support for nationwide orchestral education centers, known as núcleos, and constantly puts together regional, national and international encounters, known as “seminarios”, through which students share knowledge, experiences and friendships.

These nationwide núcleos train children from early ages through adulthood, providing tuition-free training, instruments and support to help them become valuable citizens and successful professionals in any discipline they chose to follow.

Over 10 of El Sistema orchestras from Venezuela have toured the world since its beginning.  With the help of social media, its flagship ensemble, the Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra has become an international sensation, and its young conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, has become the most acclaimed conductor in the 21st century.  Recently, a new El Sistema youth orchestra in Venezuela is following the path of the SBYO, the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra.

FESNOJIV often provides and institutional support for the semi-autonomous núcleos to acquire instruments and equipment, but most important, they provide funding for human resources nationwide, thus overseeing artistic and pedagogical standards for the system as a whole.

Watch the breathtaking El Sistema-Venezuela results of its three newest generations of students, from children ages 7-16 in the 2010 National Children’s Orchestra, to the students in the internationally acclaimed Teresa Carreño and Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestras.