Latin America

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

Shifting Perspectives: Music Education and Disability


When people see children with disabilities actively participating in musical activities, their attitudes can shift drastically. This mental shift is incredibly beneficial for these children, who thrive when they are supported by individuals who believe in their capabilities. In this way, music programs are a connector, educating both children with disabilities and those around them, who learn to celebrate their potential.

From the Embers of a São Paulo Favela, Music Grows


For over 27 years, the Brazilian nonprofit NGO Instituto Baccarelli has been supporting social work with children and young people in vulnerable situations in the favela of Heliópolis, in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. The Institute has a dramatic founding story: in 1996, after a massive fire devastated the favela, the esteemed choral director Maestro Silvio Baccarelli was moved to begin giving free violin lessons to children whose families had been displaced by the disaster. Shortly afterwards, the small string ensemble that originated the Baccarelli Institute was formed.

Song, Steel, and Social Impact in Trinidad and Tobago


From Puccini’s Turandot to the Congolese-inspired Missa Luba, from pulsating calypso arrangements to Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” performed to the rhythm of East Indian tassa drums, The Lydians organization has always sought to expand its participants’ sense of what’s possible.

The Ambassadors’ Exchange: In Our Own Voices


To complement the “Ambassador (Re)Introductions” published in April, the cohort recorded video introductions for the month of June. Listen to the Ambassadors as they say hello in their native languages, from every corner of the globe.

El Sistema Returns to the United Nations to Pay Tribute to Maestro Abreu


The National Children’s Symphony of Venezuela returned to Geneva this past April for a special performance at United Nations Headquarters, marking almost a decade since the visit of El Sistema founder Maestro José Antonio Abreu.

Jameel Arts & Health Lab Launches Four International Research Studies


The Jameel Arts & Health Labthe brainchild of the World Health Organization (WHO), New York University’s Steinhardt School, the non-profit organization Culturunners, and philanthropic foundation Community Jameelwas launched earlier this year with an ambitious mission: to research how the arts can improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities in some of the most challenging places around the world.

The Ambassadors’ Exchange: May Happenings


This month, the Ambassadors were asked to explore their daily lives in their programs. Our most recent entry explores ideas such as: 1) their daily routines outside of rehearsal; 2) what their rehearsal settings look and feel like; and 3) their relationships with their colleagues/instructors. We hope to share different slices of life from different corners of the world.

Spotlight on Venezuela


El Sistema programs, mark your calendars: the second Global Congress of El Sistema will be held at the Centro Nacional de Acción Social por la Música in Caracas, Venezuela on September 10–24, 2023.

In Brazil, the Joyful Noise of a Hundred Teachers Learning Together


There are not many cities—even world capitals—that have a government-supported program to develop children’s orchestras and choirs in public schools. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is one city that does have such a program: IBME, Instituto Brasileiro de Música e Educação, which helps to support youth and children’s ensembles in over fifty schools throughout the city.

‘Hosts in Their Own Home’: True Interculturalism at Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy


As I began my career teaching Mexican music to children, the advent of multiculturalism promised increased representation but actually delivered narrow spaces that forced us into stereotypes, akin to Taco Tuesday at the cultural center. So I began to practice interculturalism, within which we took control of our own self-definition and expression. We studied our traditions from within and created bridges to people of various cultures directly.


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