Abreu, José Antonio

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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.