José Abreu, Venezuelan Conductor Who Envisioned Musical Education For All, Dead At 78

Abreu began El Sistema in 1975 with fewer than a dozen students — 40 years later, his system has been used throughout the world to unite children through musical education.
Venezuelan conductor and composer José Abreu delivers a speech to the young musicians of his orchestra in Caracas, Venezuela in January, 2009. Abreu was the founder of "El Sistema," an educational framework intended to extend musical instruction to children, regardless of their background. Source: Thomas Coex

José Abreu, the Venezuelan musician, economist and educator who created the acclaimed network of youth orchestras known as El Sistema, died Saturday at age 78. Abreu's death was announced by El Universal, the Caracas-based newspaper run by his brother Jesus Abreu. The country is observing three days of national mourning.

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