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El Sistema Comes to the USA: Playing the Mambo and Other Transformations

Jamie Bernstein

September 12, 2012

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"I know it sounds impossible, but El Sistema is for real. El Sistema's founder, the visionary musician and economist Jose Antonio Abreu, has said, "If you put a violin in a child's hands, that child will never hold a gun." It is a profound idea: to use an orchestra as a means of personal growth for children in impoverished environments—which in turn brings transformation to the community as a whole. Yes, a very big idea. And now this idea is spreading around the world. Every month, it seems, we hear about another nucleo starting up in another country."

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