The IDB reports on El Sistema

My article with Ana Lucía Frega, entitled “The IDB reports on El Sistema: New perspectives on the history and historiography of Venezuela’s National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras,” has just been published in Epistemus (in Spanish). It can be accessed here. (If the direct link does not work, the article can be downloaded from the table of contents page here.)

It’s a full-length version of the short presentation we gave at ISME in 2016.

It presents the evidence that the Inter-American Development Bank and El Sistema were aware of the problems with the program in 1997 and that they had little evidence to support the new narrative about El Sistema as a social program that emerged around that time.

Key conclusions from my book were foreshadowed in the 1997 reports and bolstered by the 2016 IDB report. Not that I expect many people to care, beyond the small handful who are genuinely interested in the history and reality of El Sistema. The debate (or perhaps the lack of it) has never really been about true or false, right or wrong – it has been about defending the interests of the Sistema industry and the journalists who helped to create it.