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Jose Antonio Abreu

Jose Antonio Abreu is a Venezuelan pianist, economist, educator, activist, and politician.

Born in the western city of Valera in 1939, Abreu was trained as an economist. He holds a PhD degree in economics from the Universidad Catolica Andres Bello and did some graduate work in petroleum economics at the University of Michigan. He served as a Deputy at the Chamber of Deputies in the old Congress of Venezuela. After his political career, he also worked as a professor of economics and law at Universidad Simon Bolivar and his Alma Mater. He would return to politics briefly in 1983 to serve as Minister of Culture.

Abreu began to study music with Doralisa Jimenez de Medina in Barquisimeto. Later, he attended the Caracas Musical Declamation Academy in 1957, where he studied piano with Moises Moleiro, organ and harpsichord with Evencio Castellanos, and composition with Vicente Emilio Sojo. In 1967, he received the Symphonic Music National Prize for his musical ability. It was in 1975 that he founded El Sistema, formally known as the Foundation for the National Network of Youth and Children Orchestras of Venezuela.

Related websites

2007 Autumn Conferment of Decorations on Foreign Nationals, p. 2.

Polar Music Award winners 2009: Jose Antonio Abreu and Peter Gabriel, BBC News, May 12, 2009

2009 Polar Music Prize press release, Royal Swedish Academy of Music, May 12, 2009

Roll of Honour of The Right Livelihood award

The Work of Jose Antonio Abreu

Personalities to the service of the Unesco

Interview with Jose Antonio Abreu

"La cultura para los pobres no puede ser una pobre cultura".

TED Talks: Jose Abreu on kids transformed by music

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