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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Creator of Venezuelan youth orchestras Abreu dead at 79

No cause was given, but Abreu had been known to be battling several illnesses

Jose Antonio Abreu, director of the National Network of Youth and Child Orchestras of Venezuela died on Saturday, March 24, 2018. AP
Jose Antonio Abreu, director of the National Network of Youth and Child Orchestras of Venezuela died on Saturday, March 24, 2018. AP

Jose Antonio Abreu, the government economist turned musical educator who created Venezuela's network of youth orchestras that has been replicated in dozens of countries around the world, died on Saturday. He was 79.

His death was announced by the newspaper El Universal, where his brother Jesus Abreu is president. No cause was given, but Abreu had been known to be battling several illnesses ever since he retired from El Sistema, as the musical education program is known, a few years ago.

Abreu was the teacher to generations of Venezuelan classical music performers. His most famous protege, Gustavo Dudamel, musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, tweeted a picture of the two on Saturday dedicated to Abreu "with devoted love and eternal gratitude."

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