Date of Award

Spring 4-8-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Advisor

Elizabeth Swanson

Second Advisor

Brenda M. Romero

Third Advisor

Donald McKinney


Singing has brought people together for centuries, yet historically, access to classical music has privileged the culturally elite, excluding most of the world’s population. Today, many leaders in the musical community are trying to bridge classical music with the working classes, providing access to music instruction for all. El Sistema Global is the largest international musical movement doing just that. The music world is becoming increasingly familiar with Venezuela’s El Sistema and the story of how José Antonio Abreu (1939–2018) founded the system of youth and children’s orchestras out of a garage in 1975, welcoming anyone who wanted to learn to play. Later, the spotlight was placed on El Sistema through protegé conductor Gustavo Dudamel and his second incarnation of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, which toured on international stages such as the BBC Proms. El Sistema has profoundly touched and influenced the classical music world and is a spark that continues to kindle hundreds of programs unified by the goal of creating social change through music.

Available for download on Friday, April 15, 2022