Renowned Conductor Gustavo Dudamel Profiled on Tavis Smiley Reports

Host Tavis Smiley to Examine the Scarcity of Music Education in America's Schools and the Artists Who Are Dedicated to Bringing Back the Music

Oct 19, 2010, 08:00 ET from TS Media, Inc.

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- A new episode of TAVIS SMILEY REPORTS primetime special on PBS will offer a candid look into the world of Los Angeles Philharmonic's star conductor Gustavo Dudamel as well as examine the resurgence of music programs across the United States.  In an exclusive interview with Dudamel on the fourth installment, host Tavis Smiley examines the power of music and features additional artists who, like Dudamel, are working together to develop programs to introduce children to sheet music and classical music instruction, which is proving to have a dramatic impact on their lives.  

The fourth episode of TAVIS SMILEY REPORTS, titled "Dudamel: Conducting a Life," premieres on Wednesday, December 29 at 8pm/7pm Central on PBS.

At 29, Dudamel is not only the youngest conductor of any major orchestra in the world, but he is also being hailed by critics as the most exciting.  Dudamel came out of an internationally acclaimed music program in his native Venezuela called "El Sistema" and credits the experience with changing his life by instilling in him a passion for music at a very young age – a pursuit that ultimately contributed to keeping him out of trouble.  

"The sheer genius of Gustavo Dudamel's talent is what excites the audience," says Smiley.  "However, it's his ambition to expose, educate and empower America's children to his world of classical music that will perhaps cement the imprint of his musical legacy."

The El Sistema program instructs children as early as age two or three with the vast majority continuing well into their teens. Students of the rigorous program attend up to six days a week, three to four hours a day, plus participate in retreats and intensive workshops.  The young students are introduced to internationally known classical and Latin American composers and Venezuelan folk musicians.  

TAVIS SMILEY REPORTS "Dudamel: Conducting a Life" will also provide an inside look at two El Sistema USA program models.  First is the Abreu Fellows program at the New England Conservatory in Boston, which offers tuition-free training for outstanding young postgraduate musicians seeking to guide the development of El Sistema programs in the U.S. and beyond.  Named in honor of the creator of El Sistema Dr. Jose Abreu, the New England Conservatory recently graduated its first class of ten fellows who will teach in music education programs across the country.  Smiley will sit down with several Abreu fellow graduates and with some of the remarkable kids whose lives are being transformed.

The other featured program – inspired by El Sistema and championed by Dudamel – is Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA).  A major initiative of Los Angeles Philharmonic's educational outreach, the plan is to build youth orchestras in underserved communities.  Smiley will talk with the YOLA students about the impact of the program.

TAVIS SMILEY REPORTS, a series of four primetime specials first debuted in January with "One on One with Hilary Clinton." Next, "MLK: A Call to Conscience" premiered on March 31, and the series continued when Smiley teamed up with Academy Award®-winning director Jonathan Demme to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in "New Orleans: Been in the Storm Too Long" on July 21.

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TAVIS SMILEY REPORTS is produced for PBS by The Smiley Group, Inc. /TS Media, Inc. and KCET Los Angeles. Executive producer is Jacoba Atlas. Funding provided by Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and Public Television Viewers.

About Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley is host of the nightly talk show TAVIS SMILEY on PBS and the host of The Tavis Smiley Show and co-host of Smiley & West from PRI. Smiley launched America I AM: The African American Imprint, a world-class exhibition celebrating the extraordinary impact of African American contributions to our nation and the world, on January 15, 2009. The exhibit is on a four-year, 10-city tour and is currently on display in Los Angeles. Smiley is also the author/editor of 14 books, including The New York Times best-sellers Covenant with Black America and What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America, and his most recent, Accountable: Making America As Good As Its Promise. For more information, visit

Press Contacts:

Leshelle Sargent, KCET | (323) 953-5758 |

Cathy Williams, KCET | (323) 953-5243 |

SOURCE TS Media, Inc.