Collaborations

The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

YOLA National Festival Accepting Applications

01-07-2020

Applications are now open for the YOLA National Festival. The 2020 Festival will feature a Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra, which now expands to woodwind, brass, and percussion musicians age 12-14. Application deadline is February 3, 2020. Click here for more information on audition requirements.

Editorial: January 2020

01-07-2020

At the start of every New Year, I look for inspiration, and this week I found it. “It (Still) Takes a Village,” Krystle Ford’s article also in this issue, reports on the work of the Indianapolis Symphony’s Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, which seeks to engage multiple generations of family members in its El Sistema work.

The Global Leaders Plant a Musical Seed in Tlaxcala, Mexico

10-02-2019

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EDITORIAL: The Transformative Power of Big

09-02-2019

I have been lucky enough to attend the last three gatherings of the global Sistema’s biggest events—Side by Side by El Sistema Sweden, Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra, and the YOLA National Festival.  There is no getting around it—these are gigantically complex efforts to design and manage, and they are expensive.

Boston String Academy Joins Orquestra Geração

09-02-2019

“Visiting Portugal with my BSA orchestra was a trip full of memories that will never stop coming back to me. It’s amazing how, despite the expected language barrier, there were no walls between us, like we didn’t need words to form friendships because the music and the passion connecting us was enough. The music is the center of it all – why we were there, why we knew each other, why we would see each other days after the trip. It’s incredible how when you love something, you don’t want to stop doing it. After spending almost eight hours playing, barely awake by the end of the day, I still wanted to wake up and do it all over again the next day because I enjoy music; I enjoy playing it, the feeling and the togetherness of the orchestra, the people I meet, the places I get to see, the pieces I get to play, the emotion I get to feel, the memories that are present forever like friendly ghosts haunting my mind, traveling wherever I go, bringing it all with me. I may be in Boston, or in L.A., or in Venezuela, or anywhere in the world, but as long as I have music, and all that comes with it, Portugal will never leave me. It changed me far too much for me to forget.”

FROM THE EDITOR September 2019

09-01-2019

On November 1, 2011, Eric Booth and I published the first issue of The Ensemble newsletter. In my inaugural editorial column, I quoted our Venezuelan friend Rodrigo Guerrero, who had said at the first gathering of U.S. Sistema practitioners: “Look around you. Look to your right. Look to your left. These are the people who are going to help you. Networking is incredibly important.”

An American in Gothenburg

08-01-2019

Often, when we think about the word ‘culture,’ we think about the qualities of a communityits shared music, food, or religion. However, the word is derived from the Latin word ‘colere,’ which means to tend or cultivate; so when we take a more active perspective, we can define culture as ‘the medium for growth.’

Teachers from Mexico and Germany Learn Together

11-30-2018

In October, ten teachers from Musica Para la Vida (Music for Life) in Mexico traveled to Berlin, Germany to participate in an international seminar, organized in part by the Federal Association of Cultural Education for Children and Youth of Germany.

More Than the Sum of Our Parts

11-01-2018

We start with the premise, “Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” Collaboration is not a simple process – it is so much easier just to insulate your organization and do everything in exactly the way you would like. But then the larger purpose that so many of us are working towards – life-changing opportunities for young people that are made possible by equitable music education for all – will never be achieved.

The One American in SEYO

11-01-2018

Last August, I had the good fortune to be the only U.S. musician in the Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra. SEYO generously offered me that opportunity because I was born in Birmingham, England – the site of the “SEYO 18” Festival – and was back visiting the city after living in the States for 14 years.

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