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CIM to present José Antonio Abreu with honorary Doctorate at 88th Commencement Ceremony


March 12, 2013: The Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) adds an international cultural icon to its list of Honorary Doctorates at the 88th Annual Commencement Ceremony on May 18, 2013 in the conservatory's Kulas Hall. Venezuelan pianist, economist, educator, activist and politician José Antonio Abreu will be recognized for his greatest musical achievement - the founding of El Sistema.


Dr. Abreu’s El Sistema is a tested model of how a music program can both create great musicians and dramatically change the life trajectory of thousands of a nation's neediest children. Dr. Abreu believed in a better future for Venezuela, aiming to change people and structures through music - making an orchestra a place of togetherness for children to learn to listen and respect one another. The program has been so successful at using music as a common language that it has been adapted in countries world-wide.


In Cleveland, the Rainey Institute partnered with CIM alumna and Cleveland Orchestra musician Isabel Trautwein to launch an El Sistema program in 2011. Ms. Trautwein is among alumni who will also receive awards at commencement.


Born in Venezuela in the late 1930s, Dr. Abreu earned a Ph.D. in petroleum economics and later graduated as a composer and organist from a Venezuelan conservatory. Within ten years, he utilized both his economics and music backgrounds to begin El Sistema, helping to bridge the gulf between the rich and the poor in his country. The success of the National Symphony Youth Orchestra led to the establishment of other youth orchestras in other Venezuelan States.


Dr. Abreu served as Venezuela's Minister of Culture and President of its National Council for Culture. In 1998, he received the title “Ambassador for Peace” from UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. In 2008, he received the Prince of Asturias Arts Award and the Légion d'honneur of France. He holds an honorary degree from the Metropolitana University, Caracas.


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Revised: 03/12/13 18:45:46 -0800.




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