I am currently making a presentation on El Sistema for members of the ARTE Lifelong Learning Institute in Las Cruces, NM. As a supplement to the presentation, here are a few links:
Understanding Venezuela's Recent Economic Problems
“Venezuela: The Rise and Fall of a Petrostate,” (Originally published by the Council on Foreign Relations on January 24, 2019, updated on December 29, 2021.
Gustavo Dudamel and the Political Problems in Venezuela
"Why I Don't Talk Politics" (Los Angeles Times, September 29, 2015)
"A Better Way for Venezuela" (New York Times, July 10, 2017)
Resources for Learning about El Sistema
- Tocar y Luchar, directed by Alberto Arvelo (2006)
- The Promise of Music: Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, directed by Enrique Sánchez Lansch (2008)
- El Sistema: Music to Change Life, directed by Paul Smaczny and Maria Stootmeier (2009)
- Dudamel: Let the Children Play, directed by Alberto Arvelo (2012)
- Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema, and the Transformative Power of Music by Tricia Tunstall (2012)
- Playing for Their Lives: The Global El Sistema Movement for Social Change Through Music by Tricia Tunstall and Eric Booth (2016)
For an alternative — and quite critical —view of El Sistema, see a book by Geoffrey Baker titled El Sistema: Orchestrating Venezuela's Youth.
As an introduction to the rebuttals of Baker’s claims, I have provide a link to two online articles. I would like to add, however that these articles only scratch the surface of how one might challenge Baker’s complaints about a program that has received worldwide acclaim.
- "El Sistema: Can the Controversial Music Project Bring Harmony to Venezuela?"(The Guardian, November 28, 2016)
- "El Sistema: Does Reality Match the Rhetoric?" (The Telegraph, November 24, 2014)
Mahler, Symphony No. 2 in C-minor (1895)
Performed by the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and conducted by Gustavo Dudamel (BBC Proms, 2011)