José Abreu brings classical music to at-risk youth

The wish

Sistema Fellows Program

The winner

José Abreu

The year


I wish you would help create and document a special training program for at least 50 gifted young musicians, passionate for their art and for social justice, and dedicated to developing El Sistema in the US and in other countries.

The plan

Partner with the New England Conservatory (NEC) to create, implement and document a year-long educational program that involves hands on training in Boston, extended time studying El Sistema in Venezuela, guided internships with public programs that affect at-risk youth, and a required year of work towards advancing or founding an El Sistema program outside of Venezuela.

Current status

The Sistema Fellows Program, a post-graduate certificate initiative at the NEC in Boston, began in October 2010 and culminated in May 2014, with a total of 50 graduate fellows. The program offered master classes, workshops, internships and residencies that developed fellows' skills to help them build El Sistema programs in the U.S.A. and internationally. launched as a support and advocacy network for El Sistema-inspired organizations. The NEC will continue to invest in the 50 graduate Fellows through the Sistema Fellowship Resource Center.

Get involved

  1. Learn more about the program through the Sistema Fellows blog
  2. Donate to the Sistema Fellows Program

Jose's bio

Jose Antonio Abreu founded El Sistema ("the system") in 1975 to help poor Venezuelan kids learn to play a musical instrument and be part of an orchestra. 30 years on, El Sistema has seeded 102 youth orchestras -- and many happy lives.
Learn more about Jose