In 1975, Venezuelan musician Jose Antonio Abreu created a network of music education programs for children. It became known as El Sistema. As the director of El Sistema, Abreu was able to gain government support for the network, and turn it into one of Venezuela's model programs.
    1975年,委内瑞拉音乐家何塞·安东尼奥·艾伯鲁(Jose Antonio Abreu)为儿童打造了一项音乐教育课程网络,它后来发展成为了委内瑞拉青少年乐团体系(El Sistema)。作为委内瑞拉青少年乐团体系的音乐总监,艾伯鲁成功获得了政府对该网络的支持,并将其变为委内瑞拉的示范项目之一。

    Abreu died March 24 at age 78. Now, El Sistema's new director, Eduardo Mendez, promises to continue the program's tradition of musical excellence and social service.
    艾伯鲁于3月24日去世,享年78岁。现在,委内瑞拉青少年乐团体系的新任总监埃德华多·门德斯(Eduardo Mendez)承诺继续该课程绝佳音乐性和社会服务的传统。

    Mendez said the program must overcome Venezuela's severe economic crisis. The crisis has forced hundreds of musicians to leave the country.

    El Sistema now includes about 300 community schools. The network has given children in poor neighborhoods a chance to study classical music. It has produced world-famous musicians, including the director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel.
    委内瑞拉青少年乐团体系目前包含大约300所社区学校。该网络让贫苦社区的孩子有机会学习古典音乐。该网络产生了著名的音乐家,包括洛杉矶爱乐乐团的总监古斯塔沃·杜达梅尔(Gustavo Dudamel)。

    But Mendez says leading the orchestra network through Venezuela's social and economic crisis will not be easy.

    He says that 8 percent of the program's teachers have recently left Venezuela to seek a better life in other countries. The network's highly praised Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra has lost 42 percent of its musicians over the past six months. Most of those positions have been filled with younger musicians.

    Mendez said, "It hasn't been easy to convince people to stay. Many of these people are leaving in search of economic stability."

    Mendez worked with Abreu for 15 years. He said his goal will be to strengthen beginner music programs and explore new types of music for students to learn.

    El Sistema says 980,000 children and young musicians are currently part of its programs throughout Venezuela.

    Moving forward, Mendez will have to avoid conflicts between musicians and Venezuela's government. Critics have accused him of using the music program as a propaganda tool.

    Tensions between El Sistema and Venezuelan officials developed in 2017. At that time, Gustavo Dudamel criticized President Nicolas Maduro's attempt to form a national assembly of mostly government supporters. Some critics viewed the move as another step toward dictatorship.
    2017年,委内瑞拉青少年乐团体系与委内瑞拉官员之间的关系出现了紧张。当时,古斯塔沃·杜达梅尔(Gustavo Dudamel)批评总统马杜罗试图组建一个大多数是政府支持者的国民大会。一些批评者认为此举是朝着独裁又迈出一步。

    Maduro asked Dudamel to "not attack those of us who have been crucial to the expansion of the [musical] movement."

    Venezuelan officials then cancelled two El Sistema trips through the United States and Asia. Dudamel was to lead the series of performances. No official explanation was given as to why the trips were cancelled.

    Mendez said Dudamel will continue to be El Sistema's creative director. Dudamel is expected to lead several concerts in Venezuela in August and September. He may also take part in an El Sistema exhibition in May at a United Nations meeting in Vienna.

    Reporters asked Mendez whether he would permit his musicians to voice their political views. He said he would not censure anyone.

    "Everyone is responsible for his actions, and is responsible for saying or doing what they think is right," Mendez said.

    I'm Jonathan Evans.