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Abreu, José Antonio

José Antonio Abreu, 1939–, Venezuelan music educator, economist, and politician. With degrees in petroleum economics and in organ and composition, Abreu was an economics professor at various Venezuelan universities and a national legislator before he founded (1975) El Sistema, or the National System of Youth and Children's Orchestras of Venezuela. Using classical music education to help youngsters learn a positive value system and achieve their potential and encourage social development, Abreu's program proved a great success, and it now has several hundred thousand students and sponsors a network of youth orchestras and choirs. Abreu also served (1989–93) as minister of culture.

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