CARACAS – Venezuela’s highly praised National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras will add 100,000 young people to its rolls before the end of this year, joining the 400,000 youths already registered in the program, system founder Jose Antonio Abreu said.
“Before the end of this year, we are adding 100,000 youths to the system via a special grant from the president (Nicolas Maduro) and we are working with great efficiency,” Abreu told VTV after a meeting with the head of state at the Miraflores presidential palace.
The goal for the program is to “reach 1 million kids,” Abreu said, adding that Maduro threw his “full support” behind the project.
“This means training hundreds of thousands of teachers, building more infrastructure across the country, modern up-to-date buildings in all the states and, of course, an international structure for aid and exchanges with all countries,” Abreu said.
The first building to be constructed as part of the project will be “Dudamel Hall” in Barquisimeto, the city in the western state of Lara where renowned Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel was born, Abreu said.
Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Venezuela’s Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, was present at the meeting with Maduro.
Many of the projects being launched by the system were the “brainchild” of President Hugo Chavez, who died earlier this year, Dudamel said.
Abreu founded the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras in 1975 and Dudamel participated in the program as a youth.