He was born in Valera, Venezuela on May 7, 1939. He holds the titles of Performing Professor, Composer and Orchestra Director. He studied music with Doralisa Jimenez de Medina in Barquisimeto. Later, he attended the Musical Academy in Caracas, where he studied piano with Moisés Moleiro, the organ and harpsichord with Evencio Castellanos and composition with Vicente Emilio Sojo. Besides being a composer, pianist, harpsichordist, and organist, Dr. Abreu has a degree in Economics (Summa Cum Laude) and an Honorary Doctorate in Economics. HIS LEGACY Founded and directed the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, the National Youth Symphony Orchestra and the State Foundation for the National System of Children and Youth Orchestras, a network of children and youth orchestras and choirs which involves approximately 250,000 young musicians. They employ musical education as tool for community development, social integration and solidarity, which has it maximum expression in the Simon Bolivar Youth Symphony Orchestra. This system has become a role model for other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and has received numerous national and international awards, among which is the Prize Prince of Asturias of the Arts 2008. It is based on the principle that “music is an irreplaceable instrument to join people”. José Antonio Abreu is credited with bringing together culture and the people. Better yet, he made the people come close to culture. About one hundred thousand youth are part of his orchestras and value personal growth. Maestro Abreu taught a large segment of the Venezuelan population that one must not conform to being mediocre if you can be excellent; that success is achieved in life through hard work and persistence, therefore they should not fear hard work. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS In 1993, The System was awarded the famous International Music Prize IMC-UNESCO. He was named Good Will Ambassador by UNESCO in 1998. In 2001, Abreu received the Right Livelihood Award, and in 2004 the World Culture Open Creative Arts Award. He also received the Order of the Rising Sun, Grand Cordon in Japan in 2007, the Glenn Gould prize in Canada in 2008 and the Puccini International Price in Italy in 2008. In 2009 Abreu received the Crystal Prize of the World Economic Forum and the TED prize, consisting of US$100,000. On May 12, 2009, he was awarded the Polar Music Prize, granted by the Swedish Royal Academy of Music.