The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.
News & Resources
Last month, El Sistema Sweden and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra held their annual international Side by Side camp, welcoming participants from Sweden, Greenland, Venezuela, the U.S., and elsewhere to play and learn together. For the second straight year, the pandemic forced the camp to take place online, but the results were no less beautiful.
The Sphinx Organization is offering several upcoming opportunities for funding support and professional development.
Make Music Day began as a small idea in France for a new kind of musical holiday, one where live music emanates from every corner and in any setting, as inclusively as possible. Now, 39 years later, it is a globally recognized holiday and festival in 120 countries, threading together different musical cultures all on one day: June 21. This free event invites all levels of musicians to participate in their hometowns’ Make Music Days, or to take the lead in bringing it to their respective cities with a downloadable toolkit. Consider this unique opportunity for your program or organization to participate in—or start—a day of shared musical community.
The Artists as Changemakers Online Conference, hosted by Musicians Without Borders, is now open for registration. Presented in collaboration with ART27, the conference will take place on June 20 in acknowledgment of #WorldRefugeeDay and bring an array of workshops and presentations that highlight artist activism and teaching. Sessions will be presented in two blocks and feature the following speakers and organizations: Community Arts Network, Freemuse, Bristol Refugee Festival, Laura Hassler, Manu van Kersbergen, and Guus van der Steen. The conference is free and participants can register via Eventbrite.
From the Motherland is an on-demand virtual concert experience hosted by Castle of Our Skins, a concert and educational series dedicated to celebrating Black artistry through music. The event explores “Zimbabwean cultural roots and a personal rite of passage into womanhood.” There is a “pay-what-you-like” donation associated with the series, which goes directly to supporting original works from artists such as Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa Nzou Mambano, who composed, directed, arranged, and performed the concert’s music. Ticket and program information can be found at castleskins.org.
The Sound Espressivo Competition is looking for instrumentalists of all ages to apply for the 2021 season! This online competition holds preliminary rounds during the final weekend of every month, with the next prelim taking place June 26–27. Prizes include performance opportunities, cash, masterclasses, publicity, and much more. Artists are able to choose from an array of genre, instrument (including voice), and age bracket categories. The submission fee is $100 USD. Find out more on their website.
The SEYO 2021 SummerFest is happening this July and will feature a World Ensemble Day on July 22. We will explore some of the coolest, cleverest, most unusual and interesting projects or practices of Sistema-inspired programs around the world. Are you particularly proud of something your program does which others likely don’t do? It could be anything—a surprising and effective way that you present music, raise funds, engage students, inspire teachers, or make connections. Who knows what clever ideas are working out there?
Let us know, so we can share your work at this global conference! It doesn’t need to be a big feature—it could be a musical warmup you’ve invented, or something you do at rehearsals, or a way you communicate with parents.
Clare Hoffman, Founder and Artistic Director, Grand Canyon Music Festival
In 1983, just a few years out of music conservatory, my husband Robert Bonfiglio and I embarked on a vacation to the American Southwest. We started our trip at the Grand Canyon, with our instruments in our backpacks, a rim-to-rim-to-rim four-day hike through the canyon. The first evening, with my aching feet soaking in the cold waters of the Colorado River, I took out my flute and played. The following morning, we packed up and headed up the floor of the canyon to Cottonwood campground, where I found a washed-out tree trunk to rest under and again played my flute. A park ranger followed the sound of the flute and, when he found us, invited us to the ranger’s hut that evening to play a concert.
SIMM, or Social Impact of Making Music, is an independent international scholarly association, founded in 2017 and headquartered in Belgium, whose main research focus is the possible social impacts of learning and making music.
You may hear the old prejudice that “social” programs don’t produce musical excellence. Sistema NB student Shinie Wagaarachchi just won a major international prize in music performance.