Zeytin Çekirdekleri is a project inspired by El Sistema.
The National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choirs, known as El Sistema, was initiated in Venezuela in 1975 by visionary musician and economist José Antonio Abreu. Since then, El Sistema, which uses music education as a tool for social change in Venezuela, has spread across the country through “nucléos” or music education centers, where children from impoverished or challenging backgrounds come together to play musical instruments or sing. What began with just 11 children has now grown to reach over 400,000 children nationwide with over 200 youth orchestras.
The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, comprised of the most successful students from each center in Venezuela, is led by the accomplished conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who himself emerged from El Sistema and, at the age of 26, took over as the conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, performing in many countries.
El Sistema expanded to other Latin American countries, especially in Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico, in the 1990s. José Antonio Abreu received recognition and awards in many countries, including Sweden, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, South Korea, Turkey, Canada, and the United States.
The success of El Sistema has served as an inspiration for similar programs worldwide, serving nearly a million children in at least sixty countries.