The name of our program pays homage to the inspiration we have received from Venezuela's national youth orchestra program, known as El Sistema. El Sistema was founded in 1975 by Dr. José Antonio Abreu, an economist and composer, with the vision of creating a network of Venezuelan orchestras utilizing music as a vehicle for social change. This network provides Venezuelan youth with access to free instruments, intense musical instruction and significant ensemble experience. Today, El Sistema is recognized around the globe as the leading innovation in providing equal opportunity for all children to receive the benefit of a thorough, intense musical education, positively altering the life trajectories of countless numbers of its students. The program serves over 300,000 people each year; more Venezuelan children participate in music programs than sports.
Over the past five years, the success of Venezuela's El Sistema has generated an overwhelming surge of sistema-inspired programs around the world. El Sistema Somerville is Somerville's premiere venture in creating a music program fostering a sense of equality, community, self-worth, discipline, patience, and commitment.
Watch and listen to El Sistema founder, Dr. José Antonio Abreu, explain the importance of equitable access to high-quality music education.