About El Sistema

PROJECT MUSIC is a proud member of the national music education network El Sistema USA


El Sistema is, at its heart, a program of social change, which embraces the power and value of music as a vehicle to improve lives. To fully appreciate the program and surrounding movement, it is necessary to look to its beginnings, over forty years ago…


El Sistema is the realization of a dream of José Antonio Abreu, a musician, educator, and activist in Venezuela. Abreu believed that “music has to be recognized as an agent of social development, in the highest sense because it transmits the highest values – solidarity, harmony, mutual compassion. And it has the ability to unite an entire community, and to express sublime feelings.” This belief led to the creation in 1975 of a state-funded program to bring high-quality music education to the under-served youth of the country. Known officially as the Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar, the program now encompasses hundreds of thousands of students in Venezuela.

El Sistema gained attention in the United States in the 1990s, and a movement to create El-Sistema-inspired programs has flourished over the past decade. El Sistema USA as it exists now is not a centralized institution as in Venezuela, but rather a loose affiliation of many programs founded on the same Guiding Principals. Each program seeks the unique pathway with which to best serve its community, but all emphasize the values of creating opportunity, community, and artistic excellence.

To learn more about our national movement towards the principals of El Sistema, visit the website of El Sistema USA (especially their FAQ page).