Abreu, José Antonio
- Carmen Helena Téllez
(b Valera, May 7, 1939). Venezuelan cultural administrator. He founded the Venezuelan youth orchestra system. He earned degrees in economics from the Central University of Venezuela (1961) and composition and organ from the José Angel Lamas School of Music, Caracas (1964, 1966). From 1966 to 1974 he occupied various political and administrative positions, was a member of the Venezuelan parliament and worked for the Instituto Nacional de Cultura y Bellas Artes.
In the mid-1970s Abreu proposed a new system of youth orchestras coupling the needs of music education with the aim of national affirmation and social assistance for underprivileged young people. This network of orchestras, comprising students of all ages in all regions of the country, revolutionized the training of orchestra musicians but caused controversy among conservatory teachers and established professionals, some of whom questioned the project's empirical emphasis and criticized an arguably insufficient academic support. In spite of controversy and changing political and economic circumstances, the Simón Bolívar Orchestra in Caracas, the flagship ensemble of the movement, gradually attained professional status, outranking the traditional orchestras in Venezuela and earning a reputation as the best in Latin America during the 1990s....