Community Building

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

The EmcArts Project Develops a New Model of Social Change through Teaching Artistry

09-02-2020

Social systems are invariably complex and do not yield to lasting change through traditional advocacy or planning efforts. Why is this? In part, because humans are at once inter-dependent, passionate, assertive, and territorial. These qualities drive social systems away from being ordered and predictable in their behaviors. Most of the time, they become complex and adaptive—which means there is room for creative efforts and for irrational imagination to contribute to the emergence of positive change.

Teaching Artistry as a Balance for Cultural Education Mentalities

09-02-2020

While living in Sweden over the past year, I observed that the education system excels at nurturing student autonomy. Sweden is a small country with only a handful of classical percussionists (or any instrument) at each university. Many professors teach part-time and are seldom on campus, particularly at my host institution, Örebro University. In response, students often initiate repertoire selections, schedule ensemble rehearsals, and coach themselves. Without the constant direction of teachers, they must formulate musical interpretations and direct personal growth.

Dispatch from the Venezuelan Diaspora

09-02-2020

I first met Anthony Pérez more than a decade ago in Venezuela; he was a promising trumpet player from the Andean state of Táchira. We worked together on several occasions, as his energetic performance and manner made him a fantastic interview subject regarding the work of our orchestras and chamber ensembles. His story—a young boy in the town of Rubio rising to be one of the main brass players in the Simón Bolívar Orchestra—made for terrific press. You can see him playing alongside his peers, his hair slicked back, in YouTube clips of the legendary 2007 BBC Proms performance, led by Gustavo Dudamel, that introduced the orchestra to the world.

Ghetto Classics Update

09-02-2020

It has been such a hard time for the art industry to be running its usual activities all over the world since the coronavirus outbreak.

Quarantunes Playlist from The Ambassadors

09-02-2020

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Editorial: Virtual Music-Making as a Tool for Diplomacy

09-02-2020

As the world went into lockdown this year, most educational institutions throughout the world adapted to a new virtual learning environment. Musical classes and performances were no exception. But music is fundamentally a field that relies on subtle human interactions, bringing people physically together. The abrupt change has meant unfamiliar territory for many.

The Rainbow Academy: Warriors of the Rainbow Nation, South Africa

09-02-2020

The year 2010 was very significant in South Africa. During that 16th year of our country’s free and democratic reign, we hosted the first-ever World Cup Soccer Tournament on the African continent. It was perhaps our most prominent spotlight on the world stage since 1994, when South Africans rebelled against the brutal and systematic rule of legalized segregation and white supremacy called “Apartheid.” The 2010 World Cup felt like something of an announcement—a renewed celebration of our many cultures, communities, and opportunities. Amidst that backdrop of hope and justice, The Rainbow Academy was born in Cape Town.

Editorial: September 2020

09-01-2020

Since March 13, life has changed drastically. Arts institutions and businesses across the country shut down. Schools emptied. Everyone turned to the internet for visibility, accessibility, and relevance.

True Cultural Responsiveness

09-01-2020

When the pandemic exposed our nation, much of our work evaporated, leaving us only with what we have done, what we planned to do, and the reality of where we are. Undistracted, we began to address systemic racism with the urgency and furious passion it deserved. My heart swelled to see friends from all backgrounds join the fight, vocally and physically. With no gigs and a shrinking amount of teaching artist work, I felt less afraid of being blacklisted and freer to eradicate systemic racism.

Lessons in Listening

08-05-2020

Buffalo Public School #45 is the go-to public school for newly arrived refugees in Buffalo, NY. Speaking dozens of different languages and dialects, many of the school’s students are displaced from countries across the world. As we sat down in front of them, we introduced ourselves, our instruments, and the music we were about to play. Our audience was quiet, even distant. But as we placed our bows on our strings and the first notes emerged, everything changed.

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