José Antonio Abreu and El Sistema Honored in Sweden
September 1, 2009
It’s rewarding to see glamorous prizes go to deserving objects:
“Material poverty shall be conquered by musical richness. Social justice and cultural justice are aspects of a single dimension,” said José Antonio Abreu.
Abreu dedicated the award, which he received from Sweden’s King Carl Gustav XVI, to the educators who have worked with him in the Sistema Nacional de Orquestas Juveniles e Infantiles de Venezuela.
Peter Gabriel received his award a few minutes after Abreu’s, also in the amount of a million Swedish crowns ($129,000) along with a commemorative painting and bouquet. Gabriel was honored because of his “visionary, extroverted work that seeks to break down barriers.”
Gabriel and Abreu exchanged mutual praise in a press conference where they showed interest in working together and in which the conductor invited the British musician to come to Venezuela.
The Polar Prize was created in 1989 by Stig Andersson, publisher, composer, and manager of the Abba ensemble. Since 1992, the Prize has honored such performers as B.B. King, György Ligeti, Keith Jarrett, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Pierre Boulez, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, and Gilberto Gil.
Translation from today’s news article in El Nacional