Issue 98 - 04 | El Sistema Comes to the USA: Playing the Mambo and Other Transformations

By Jamie Bernstein
Published Sept. 12, 2012 11:00 a.m.
“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.”

About Jamie Bernstein | Jamie Bernstein is a narrator, writer and broadcaster who has transformed a lifetime of loving music into a career of sharing her knowledge and excitement with others. Her father, composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein, together with her mother, the pianist and actress Felicia Montealegre, created a spontaneous, ebullient household bursting with music, theatre and literature that turned Jamie into a lifelong cultural enthusiast. Jamie now travels the world as a concert narrator, appearing everywhere from Beijing to Caracas to Vancouver. In her role as a broadcaster, Jamie has produced and hosted numerous shows for radio stations in the United States as well as for BBC Radio 3 in Great Britain. In addition to hosting several seasons of the New York Philharmonic’s live national radio broadcasts, Jamie has presented various series for New York’s classical station, 96.3 WQXR FM. Jamie also writes articles and poetry, which have appeared in such publications as Symphony, DoubleTake, Town & Country, and Gourmet.
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