TED Prize

LA Times: Linda Ronstadt hails El Sistema in front of House subcommitee

picture-31-195x300.pngFrom the LA Times’ “Culture Monster” blog, this item by Mark Swed: “Linda Ronstadt hails Gustavo Dudamel in testimony on Capitol Hill”:

In a remarkable testimony by Linda Ronstadt to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment & Related Agencies Tuesday, the pop singer made an impassioned plea for government support of the arts. And Gustavo Dudamel, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s soon-to-be music director, was her poster boy.

We quote from her written testimony here:

In the United States we spend millions of dollars on sports because it promotes teamwork, discipline, and the experience of learning to make great progress in small increments. Learning to play music together does all this and more.

José Abreu, the founder of El Sistema, the children’s music curriculum currently considered to be the best in the world, says this: “An orchestra is a community that comes together with the fundamental objective of agreeing with itself. Therefore, the person who plays in an orchestra begins to live the experience of agreement. And what does the agreement of experience mean? Team practice, the practice of a group that recognizes itself as interdependent where one is responsible for others and the others are responsible for oneself. Agree on what? To create beauty.”

… As you may know, there is a conductor of staggering talent who has been hailed as the next Leonard Bernstein. His name is Gustavo Dudamel and he has toured the United States and Europe with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra to ecstatic reviews. He joins the Los Angeles Philharmonic as their Music Director in the fall. Here’s what matters to us today: this young conductor has a passion for music education because he knows its true power to alter the course of young lives. He was brought up in Venezuela in the extraordinary music education system that I mentioned earlier called El Sistema.

Imagine what can be accomplished if we support the arts, engage ‘at risk’ youth and help them succeed in school and in their lives. For ‘underserved’ families, indeed for all families, participation in music and the arts can help people reclaim and achieve the American Dream.

Read Linda Ronstadt’s full testimony here >>
Learn more about El Sistema >>
Learn how YOU can help spread El Sistema >>

And watch Gustavo Dudamel as he conducts the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra of Venezuela in a spine-tingling performance:

Hat tip: Phantom Galleries LA
Photo: TED/Asa Mathat