El Sistema Founder To Receive Glenn Gould Prize, Dudamel To Receive Mention

by: Ian

José Antonio Abreu
The Glenn Gould Prize, given every three years in honor of (you guessed it) Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, will be given to El Sistema founder Jose Antonio Abreu. The award, to be given on October 27, 2009 (award date is 2008) is for an individual who has displayed altruistic dedication to the spread of music. Previous Laureates include Yehudi Menuhin, Yo-Yo Ma, Pierre Boulez, and Andre Previn.

Founded in the slums of Venezuela, El Sistema, or it’s full title, Fundación del Estado para el Sistema Nacional de las Orquestas Juveniles e Infantiles de Venezuela, is most often described as a modified Suzuki method, and is most famous for it’s highly acclaimed Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra. It has produced such professional musicians as Gustavo Dudamel, Edicson Ruiz, Pedro Eustache, Natalia Luis-Bassa, and others.

But perhaps the greatest success of El Sistema is not in the number of professional musicians it has produced, but the 250,000 children who now attend it’s music classes (Wikipedia reporting that 90% come from poor socio-economic backgrounds).

Beginning in 1993, Laureates were given the honor of selecting the recipient of an accompanying award, the City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize. Who do you think Abreu chose?

Gustavo Dudamel was named the 2008 Protégé. More proof that Dudamania is still going strong.

Official Site of the Glenn Gould Foundation
Jose Antonio Abreu
El Sistema


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