Teach children the beauty of music and music will teach them the beauty of life. - Dr. José Antonio Abreu
Founded in 2011 by businessman and community activist Robert Eisenberg, Sistema Toronto’s core objective is to provide musical, social and intellectual opportunities that children in vulnerable communities can seldom access, with the end goal of transformative social change. Our program is modelled after the Venezuela-based El Sistema movement, founded in 1975 by Dr. José Antonio Abreu. The creation of Sistema Toronto was directly inspired by Dr. Abreu’s visit to Toronto to accept the Glenn Gould Prize and the performance by the Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra at the Rogers Centre marking the occasion. The success of El Sistema has inspired hundreds of similar, independent programs around the world.
Sistema Toronto’s program has grown from serving 57 children annually in one neighbourhood to 250 children across three of Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods: Parkdale, Jane/Finch and East Scarborough. Our program builds stronger communities by transforming lives of at-risk children in Toronto, enabling them to overcome poverty, grow and thrive as engaged citizens and future leaders of their communities.