Watch Carlos Vives and Gustavo Dudamel's Inspirational Conversation at 2020 Billboard Latin Week

The two artists speak about the power of music as a great equalizer.

Carlos Vives was honored with the Hall of Fame award at the Billboard Latin Music Awards on Wednesday (Oct. 21) in recognition of breaking musical boundaries and his social work with music education.

In Gustavo Dudamel, the dynamic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vives found a kindred spirit. Dudamel, a product of Venezuela’s “El Sistema,” where young children of all social classes are given the opportunity to learn an instrument and play in symphony orchestras, has caused a revolution of his own by bringing together classical music with jazz, rock and even rap.

“Dudamel has popularized something that’s very sophisticated, and I’ve [made sophisticated] something very popular,” says Vives during his Billboard conversation with Dudamel, titled "From Local Inspiration to International Stage."

It’s not so much about expanding audiences, says Dudamel, who has helped replicate El Sistema around the world, as it is about recognizing that music is “a powerful agent of change and inclusion.” Providing children with a music and arts education, he adds, “is an essential right in life and education. When you give a child an instrument, you give him an identity.”

On his end, Vives, in his new music school Río Grande, teaches children the basics of formal music education but also local rhythms. He explains, “We teach them to appreciate their local music, but also that you can connect your roots with the world.”

In the end, adds Dudamel, music is the antithesis of barriers and the path to healing particularly in today’s fraught, shrill world. “Music requires you to work as a team and to listen,” he says. “When I’m playing music, I may not agree with the person sitting next to me, but together, we can create harmony.”

Watch the panel above and catch all our fascinating conversations at


Billboard Latin Music Week

See More...

Billboard Latin Music WeekOn Billboard

Explore Everything