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ERIC Number: EJ1089734
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1545-4517
Resurrection Symphony: "El Sistema" as Ideology in Venezuela and Los Angeles
Fink, Robert
Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, v15 n1 p33-57 Jan 2016
The explosive growth of Venezuela's "El Sistema" is rewriting the agenda of musical education in the West. Many commentators from the world of classical music react to the spectacle of dedicated young colonial musicians playing European masterworks as a kind of "miracle," accepting "Sistema" founder José Antonio Abreu's claim that, in Venezuela, "material poverty is being overcome by spiritual affluence." This essay attempts to clarify the epistemological slippage inherent in such talk, which deliberately conflates old-fashioned idealist notions of classical music's spiritual power with utilitarian justifications of music education as social engineering. In Los Angeles, Abreu's slippery rhetoric has been of great use to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which under the canny leadership of chief executive Deborah Borda and Abreu protégé Gustavo Dudamel has turned "El Sistema's" rhetoric of social justice ("music is a fundamental human right") into a hip consumer brand.
MayDay Group. Brandon University School of Music, 270 18th Street, Brandon, Manitoba R7A 6A9, Canada. Tel: 204-571-8990; Fax: 204-727-7318; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Venezuela
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A