Welcome to EL SISTEMA-NEW YORK CITY (ES-NYC). We are a group of inspired individuals—all volunteers—dedicated to bringing José Antonio Abreu's music education system to New York City along with what NYU Professor and NY Times music critic Allan Kozinn referred to as "what's needed now" for all New York City public schools.

Olivia Presents to Abreu
El Sistema-NYC member Olivia Koppell presents Maestro José Antonio Abreu
with a Proclamation from the City of New York celebrating his
music education//social program, El Sistema. June 7, 2008
(Photo courtesy of ES-NYC member Charity MacDonald)

José Antonio Abreu started EL SISTEMA in Venezuela in 1975 with 11 musicians and 25 music stands. ” It has grown into a global phenomenon increasingly recognized as one of the most successful and innovative music education programs ever created. The core idea consists of the formation of community-based youth orchestras by providing free instruments and tuition to underprivileged children living in poverty-stricken areas including children with disabilities. We are seeking to replicate El Sistema in New York City with the vision of free music education for any and all children.

Jacqui, Olivia and Jaime Proclaim
ES-NYC members Jacqui Danilow, Olivia Koppell
exhibit the Proclamation from the New York City Council
through the office of Councilmember G. Oliver Koppell

We embrace Maestro José Antonio Abreu's ideals so powerfully expressed in the final words of his speech before the Venezuelan B'nai B'rith when he accepted the Human Rights Award on February 26, 2008:  

En el combate por los Derechos Humanos, incorporemos con vigor el sublime derecho de los niños a la música, en cuyo seno fulge el Ser en su esplendor y en su inefable misterio.

Revelemos a nuestros niños la belleza de la música y la música revelará a nuestros niños la belleza de la vida.

"In the struggle for Human Rights, let us vigorously incorporate children's sublime right to music, in whose bosom shines Beingness in its splendor and its ineffable mystery.

Let us reveal to our children the beauty of music and music shall reveal to our children the beauty of life."

[Translation by ES-NYC founding member José Bergher.
For the full text (English and Spanish) of Maestro Abreu's acceptance speech, please CLICK HERE.]

And, due to the tremendous interest around the country and the world, ES-NYC has extended its resources and info-sharing to places like:

  • Hampton Roads, Virginia
  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Marietta, Georgia
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Bangkok, Thailand via Cambridge, England
  • Manila, Philippines
  • Pretoria, South Africa, UNICEF

We also have established idea-and-knowledge sharing with Sistema Scotland through Peter Stevenson, partner to Project Director Nicola Killean.